Cards defense confuses - dominates - Canes

ORLANDO – The University of Louisville demolished Miami, Fla., 36-9 in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl. U of L's offense had a sensational game but the defense dominated and confused the Hurricanes. Cardinal Authority has a look at the scheme change that helped the Cardinals out.

University of Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said the coaching staff felt like the Cardinals needed to do something to throw Miami quarterback Stephen Morris off his game, especially on third down.

So, the Cardinals opted to go with the clutter attack.

Earlier this week, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and the other defensive coaches changed the game plan, having the defensive line and linebackers not line up, while moving around to try and befuddle the Miami offense on third down.

It turns out, the changed worked.

The Cardinals confused and frustrated Morris so much the Hurricanes were 0-for-11 on third downs and it gave the defense a leg up in a 36-whipping in the Russell Athletic Bowl at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

"At first, our scout team O-line was stopping us," Smith said. "So, our coaches were like we have to do something different. We started that about two or three days ago and the clutter thing worked."

Added defensive lineman Brandon Dunn: "We just had to confuse them a bit. We felt like we could control the game."

U of L coach Charlie Strong called the defensive effort an "all-around solid performance," noting a bunch of different guys made big plays.

The Cardinals held Miami to 174 yards of total offense and 14 first downs, keeping the potent Hurricanes to just 3.2 yards a play.

"We felt that we could (dominate the game) a lot," Dunn said. "We had a little chip on our shoulder. Coach Strong hyped them up a lot during practice, but we couldn't believe it because of what we had seen on film. We knew if we hit them early that they would fall."

Senior Preston Brown led the way for the U of L defense – again - with seven tackles, while Calvin Pryor had six and James Burgess added five.

Brown had one of the team's four sacks, while Marcus Smith had two and Champ Lee had the other. Lee, normally a role player, was forced into more action because George Durant was suspended for the game, had four tackles.

"Our whole game play, mental and physical toughness," Pryor said. "We had two good weeks of preparation and we knew we could dominate them.

"We watched a bunch of film on third down and knew that was going to be a big key to this game. We just wanted to cause a little confusion and make it hard on them and we got to the quarterback tonight."

Smith also had a forced fumble, while Dunn recovered the fumble.

The Cardinals dominated on defense without a couple of regulars. Durant had started six games, while B.J. Dubose, who was also suspended for the game, was one of the key defensive linemen all season.

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