Watson looking for improvement in run game

University of Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson met with the media on Tuesday night, talking about what the offense needs to do improve, especially in the running game.

Even after their 44-7 drubbing of Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, University of Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson still wants more out of his offensive unit.

Watson's biggest gripe with the performance: the inability to establish the ground game.

"We weren't sharp," Watson said of his rushing attack's output. "We had some opportunities for some breakout runs and we were one (block) away. We've just got to clean up.

"It was unacceptable what we did last week."

As a team, Louisville rushed 28 times against the Colonels for a total of 78 yards - an average of 2.8 yards-per-carry. Senior running back Senorise Perry was the leading rusher for the Cards, carrying 13 times for 36 yards. Michael Dyer and Dominique Brown saw seven and six carries respectively. Both backs averaged no more than three yards-per-carry.

"The biggest thing for me right now is for us to have that two-fisted, hard-nosed mentality, that physical mentality with the run game," Watson said. "So we've got to get our thump there."

In hopes of boosting the rushing offense, Watson said the Cardinals will choose two backs to shoulder the bulk of the carries going forward, with the third back serving more as a situational role player. Watson wasn't ready to say who the two running backs would be.

"We need to get a rhythm at tailback, and to establish that the kids have got to play," Watson added. "Like with quarterback, you've got to give (running backs) rhythm. So we'll go with two guys."

The genesis of Louisville's rushing woes against Eastern Kentucky was poor run-blocking, as Perry, Brown, and Dyer struggled to find seams throughout the afternoon. The reinsertion of guard Kamran Joyer, who missed the Cardinals' first two games with an injury, to the offensive line will offer more support in that area this week. Joyer was expected to start at guard for the Cardinals before going down with a leg injury. Watson said he will start at right guard this week.

Aside from concern for the running game, Watson expressed pleasure with the team's execution in other areas.

"Everywhere else we're really clean," he said. "Our (pass) protection has been awesome, our route-work has been awesome. We've been a very explosive football team, so I'm very happy with those aspects of it."

As far as game-planning for the matchup with Kentucky on Saturday, Watson is stressing internal improvement over focusing on the specific opponent.

"We're just going to keep doing what we do," Watson said. "We've got to get better. Honestly, all games are about a team continuing to improve."

"Opponent? Yeah, they weigh into that schematically and then with people, but in the long and the short, we've just got to get better."


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