Shawn Watson stressing consistency

While the Cardinals enter their bye week with a perfect 5-0 record, U of L offensive coordinator Shawn Watson tells Cardinal Authority that the young offense continues to learn the importance of consistency and reaching for it's potential.

As the undefeated and 19th-ranked University of Louisville utilizes a bye week to focus on improving, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson is a coach that is pleased, but not necessarily happy with how his offense has performed during the stretch.

The Cardinals have shown brilliance and have been unstoppable at times, but have yet to display the critical element to success, that is consistency.

"In the 30 years that I've been in the game, you always have to teach guys the importance of consistency and doing the little details right all the time," Watson told Cardinal Authority following Tuesday's practice. "I think you come out of training camp with a sharp edge and you have to learn to maintain that edge. Sometimes with younger players, they might think that it's just coach talk, but it's not. Inconsistency will hunt you down."

The Cardinals have felt the pressure of being hunted multiple times during their last three outings, but have survived. Against North Carolina, U of L held a 36-7 halftime advantage, but needed a last minute defensive stand to hang on to the victory. A double-digit favorite in both of it's last two games, U of L had to battle back from first half deficits before claiming wins at FIU and Southern Miss.

"We are learning a lot right now that we might not have," said Watson. "Like In the Southern Miss game we asked our receivers and quarterback to take on a whole different role. You have to learn to adjust."

While the margins of victory haven't been what most expected, the lessons that the youth-filled offense is learning are proving to be valuable.

"I think we learned a lot from the Florida International game," Watson continued. "We had to bring our A game. We had to show up and with a young football team, sometimes that is a lesson that needs to be continually taught."

Louisville begins it's seven game Big East schedule next weekend at Pittsburgh and it will need to grasp the lesson of consistency soon if it hopes to represent the conference in a BCS bowl.

"They have to learn that and how fast they learn that will determine how successful we are in the Big East," Watson said. "We have to start playing like we did during the first half of the North Carolina game. That's what I expect out of our offense. That's my vision of our offense and that's what I know we are capable of. I saw in spring, in training camp, so now I want to see it every week. I expected to see that in the Florida International game and we weren't, we were hit and miss."

Watson is stressing the importance of creating a training camp atmosphere at practices.

"I tell the coaches everyday, do things just like training camp," he explained. "I want them to have that same demeanor, be great teachers fundamentally and hold the players accountable. That's how we manage practices, so that way the message of consistency gets across to the players and becomes a part of their DNA."

After struggling to capture bowl trips the past two seasons, Watson does enjoy the feeling of being part of team that has yet to taste defeat through five weeks of play. However, he also stresses that the offense has not met the standard expected of them.

"Honestly, it's a great feeling to be 5-0, but we're not happy at where we are at, even being 5-0. We know that there is more and that we are capable of better things. We're not happy with how we've played so far. We have to become more consistent and perform at a higher level. Our standard is higher than what we've played."

Louisville travels to Pittsburgh next weekend to face the Panthers (2-2, 0-1) on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

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