U of L defense ready for change of pace

The University of Louisville defense will face a more conventional offense for the first time all season on Saturday at Pittsburgh. Cardinal Authority checks in with some defensive players on how the Cardinals will adjust.

It's been a healthy dose of spread, hurry-up and no-huddle offenses the University of Louisville defense has faced so far this season.

But that will change on Saturday.

For the first time all season, the Cardinals' defense will face a more conventional offensive attack in the Big East opener at Pittsburgh on Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Panthers run an offense that will try to establish the running game, use a lot of two tight end sets and will huddle up after each play.

"Finally," safety Hakeem Smith said.

Added linebacker Preston Brown: "It's going to be a lot different, more like our offense, more what we like. They do a lot of play action and running down hill.

"They will huddle up, which is a lot different. We're not going to be rushing and looking to sidelines in a hurry."

The Cardinals (5-0) adjusted to the no-huddle, hurry-up stuff and defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said it won't "be that big of a deal," adjusting back.

"Obviously, we're not going to be in as much nickel stuff all the time as we have been," Hurtt said. "Seeing all of the two-back stuff and multiple tight end sets are looks our guys see from our offense every day.

"We do a lot of stuff (in practice) where we go good-on-good, so we're not going to ever branch away far from seeing that. It's not going to be that big of an adjustment, but the game plan is going to be a lot different."

Pittsburgh's offense loves to run the ball. Senior Ray Graham leads the team with 419 yards rushing and is back after a knee injury ended last season early. He's closing in on the 1,000-yard mark for his career.

Isaac Bennett has 231 yards and one touchdown, while Rushel Shell has 127 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers.

"They do such a great job of running the football and have three really good backs," Hurtt said. "We have to be able to do a good job controlling the running game. We have some challenges now.

"We have to be ready to play."

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