Friday Louisville football notebook

The University of Louisville football team has moved up in the polls and is hoping to move up to 2-0 after Saturday's home game against Missouri State. Here are a few notes and nuggets about the Cardinals heading into the weekend.

PROTECTING HOME FIELD TURF

Louisville hasn't exactly had the best home-field advantage in recent years. But after winning in front of a record crowd last week, the Cardinals are hoping that's the start of a good home field run this season.

"I don't know why we have lost some games at home that we shouldn't have," senior center Mario Benavides said. "I think it's more of a mind thing than anything.

"But we want to show the fans we can do it and protect home."

U of L is now 7-7 in the first three years of the Charlie Strong-era, including just 1-2 in non-conference games last season at home. The Cardinals lost a home game last season against Marshall after beating UK on the road.

"We will (talk to the team about it) and just with us getting off to a good start, I hope that gets us going now," Strong said. "You have to defend your home turf.

"If go and play well at home, then it should carry over to road games."

MARIO THE RUNNING BACK

U of L senior center Mario Benavides met with the media on Monday and somehow the talk turned to what the captain would do if he scored a touchdown.

"I don't hope somebody fumbles in the end zone, but it wouldn't be a bad deal if I got to fall on the ball in the end zone," Benavides said. "I've always thought about that in my mind. It's not something I think about all the time, but I'd be lying to you if I say that it didn't come up once or twice before the game."

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Benavides said he was a running back in the "fat package" during his junior high school days. He scored three touchdowns.

But he admitted if he scored at U of L, he's not sure what he would do.

"I honestly don't know," he said. "You plan it out in your mind but I think if it actually happened then I wouldn't know what to do with it.

"It's like a dog chasing a car. I'd probably freeze up."

SPECIAL TEAMS LOOKED SPECIAL

Charlie Strong said the week before the opener that special teams were a concern and after the game said "I really wasn't feeling very good (about the area)."

But Carter said he was never fretting.

"I really wasn't worried about them," Carter said.

Carter was pleased with almost every aspect of the special teams and even said the onside kick wasn't as bad as it looked.

"If (Terell Floyd) stay in his spot, it null and void," Carter said. "But he just moved too soon. But overall I was really pleased."

Carter said he would still use both Kai Dominguez and Scott Radcliff as the main punt returners saying, "We might use three but you'll see both those guys."

John Wallace started as the kickoff guy and also booted a 22-yard field goal and was perfect on three extra points. He did tweak his knee a bit on a kickoff when making a tackle, but Carter said he's just fine.

"Wallace has a giant leg," Carter said, noting he hit a 57-yarder in practice last week just before the Kentucky game. "He's fine. He's been spot on."

Joshua Appleby started as the punter and averaged 42 on his two punts, while Ryan Johnson averaged 43.5 yards on his two punts.

Carter said he would continue to use all of his options, noting Appleby had three kickoffs but didn't get the benefit of the wind in the stadium.

Carter said if you kick to the closed end of the stadium, the wind holds the ball up more, but not so heading into the open end.

"A lot of people don't understand that variable," Carter said. "We wanted to use both guys and they both have big legs and can kill it."

U of L fans also may have noticed the punt team formation was a little different and Carter said, "We're always going to be different."

The Cardinals will line up and shift, just to try and throw off opponents.


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