Inside Cardinal Football: Weekly notebook

A weekly look at some notes surrounding the University of Louisville football program as the Cardinals take a 7-0 mark into a game against Cincinnati.


Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux gave Friday night's Louisville vs. Cincinnati rivalry football game a little more added excitement.

In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this week, Legaux was asked about similarities between himself and U of L sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Bearcats quarterback had a simple answer.

"I'm better," Legaux said.

His comment generated a lot of chatter among fans and there were a bunch of comments on twitter, including some from U of L players. The comment is also plastered on the walls of the U of L football complex.

Legaux added in his comment that "We'll see Friday night."

Bridgewater ranks third among Big East quarterbacks in passing, while the dual-threat Cincinnati quarterback ranks seventh.

It should make for an exciting subplot to the game.


Louisville and Cincinnati are familiar foes with the two teams battling each year on the gridiron for the Keg of Nails.

The No. 14 Cardinals have lost four in a row to Cincinnati and hasn't downed the Bearcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium since 2006.

The two teams are meeting for the 52nd time, dating back to 1922.

"Cincinnati is a well-coached football team and Butch Jones has done a good job with them," U of L coach Charlie Strong said on Monday. "It's going to be another one-game season for us. The way we look at it, we are going to take it one game at a time, and Cincinnati is the next game.

"Our team respects Cincinnati. We haven't beaten them in the last two years and they know who they really are, and it's a respect factor."

Cincinnati is 5-1 after losing to Toledo last season and is 1-0 in Big East play. The Cardinals are 7-0 and 2-0 in the conference.

"This is a big game for us this week," Strong said. "I told the team the other day this is only the third time in school history where we have been 7-0. We haven't been undefeated since I've been here. We haven't been in the conference race. We just talk about being a one-game season, and let's just continue to play."

Strong said the game is "big for the program," and senior lineman Alex Kupper backed him up, noting the game is on national TV.

Playing on a big stage with a rival coming in on national TV, that's enough excitement for me right there," Kupper said.


Strong said he's heard some of the negative vibes about the U of L defense and agreed, "We do still need to improve."

"Yes, we have to play better but we're not awful," he added.

Strong said he believes because the defense has been so solid the past two seasons that the expectations are higher now.

Defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin said the defense "will get better and better."

"People are down on our defense," he said. "But we're now letting the country know that we are going to make a stand on defense. I feel like we are making a statement by ourselves now, we're going to be the best defense in the Big East."

U of L is allowing 21.9 points a game but Strong noted the biggest improvement he wants to see is getting off the field on third down. Opponents have converted 40 of 88 – 45.5 percent – on third-down.

"We have to do a better job there," Strong said.


On Thursday, the school announced the game on Friday is a whiteout.

The Cardinals will be wearing all white uniforms, while Cincinnati will be wearing black uniforms for the game.


Because of injuries last weekend, the offensive line had to do some shuffling during the victory against South Florida.

John Miller came into the game injured, along with backup Kam Joyer. Jake Smith was dinged up a bit during the game.

"The line did a great job," Strong said. "My man Kup played three places."

Alex Kupper started at left guard, also played his normal left tackle spot and moved to right guard when Smith was injured. In all seven linemen played.

"Whoever is in, there's always an assignment and always detail to be done," Kupper said. "No mater where you are, there's a job to be done. When you have a bunch of guys banged up, it's just the next guy up.

"The next guy up has to pick it up and we did that."

Kupper noted the normal starting line up of Kupper at left tackle, Miller at left guard, Mario Benavides at center, Smith at right guard and Jamon Brown at right tackle was on the field for the game-winning touchdown drive.

Ryan Mack started at right tackle, while true freshman Nacho Garcia was in for one series at left tackle when Smith was out.

"I told Nacho, he's 1-for-1 during his college career," Kupper said.

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