Defense preparing for a "battle" on Sunday

The University of Louisville welcomes Ohio University to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium for 2013 season opener. The visiting Bobcats have an offense that could prove challenging for the Cardinals defense.

Following Wednesday's practice, University of Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford spoke about his team's preparation for the season opener against Ohio University.

Now a few days into game week, Bedford was pleased by the progress of his group during fall camp and he gives some of the credit to the Cardinals talented offense.

"I'm excited about it," he said. "We had a pretty good two-a-day camp and we've gone up against what I think is one of the best offenses around. You have Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker. We're close. We can't really cover DeVante at times, but we're getting closer. So, I feel a lot better."

Pleased will the results of fall camp is one thing. Being ready for the Bobcats is another.

"We still have a couple days of preparation to go," said Bedford. "The guys are working hard and we just need to keep improving every day."

The ninth-ranked Cardinals may be without starting defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin. The junior continues to recover from being involved in an accident on campus while driving his moped. After spending the night at Jewish Hospital for evaluation, Mauldin was with his team at practice.

Bedford said he and his teammates are grateful the outcome wasn't worse.

"We feel good about it, but the best thing about it was that wasn't serious," he said. "He was able to get out today, walk around and work out. That's a blessing in itself right there. It wasn't serious. It was just a scary situation for him and this football team."

Following practice, while still shaken and sore, Mauldin said that he believes he could play on Sunday, but that the decision will be left the trainers.

"If you have to be taken away in an ambulance, you're going to be sore," said Bedford.

Should Mauldin not go, junior B.J. Dubose will replace him in the lineup.

"He's ready," Bedford said. "He's grown up quite a bit this camp. He's worked hard. He can play three technique, he can play defensive end and he can play nose. He's worked hard and is ready to go. He's looking good, so we expect to see good things from Dubose this season."

Behind Dubose on the depth chart is redshirt freshman Nick Dawson. A former Army All-American linebacker, Dawson has split time working at linebacker and defensive end.

Bedford said that a key to slowing down the balanced Ohio offense is to limit Bobcat running back Beau Blankenship. The senior set a new single season school record last fall rushing for 1,604 yards.

"We have to load the box and we have to tackle," he said. "When you have a football player that has run for 1,600 yards, you're talking about an exceptional football player."

Ohio also features a talented quarterback in Tyler Tettleton. The 6-foot, 207-pound senior threw for over 2,800 yards and 18 touchdowns, with just 4 interceptions. Like Louisville's Bridgewater, Tettleton was selected to the Davey O'Brien Award Watch List last month.

"Our hands are going to be full," said Bedford. "It's going to be a battle, so we expect to have 55,000 people sitting in those seats cheering us on."

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.

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