Louisville facing 'really competitive' QB

University of Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the Cardinals' defense is preparing for a Kentucky team with a "very good offense," and a quarterback who is "very competitive." The Bluegrass Battle is slated for noon on Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. U of L has won three in a row.

University of Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be coaching for the first time in the Bluegrass Battle on Saturday when the Cardinals host Kentucky.

But it won't be his first rodeo against the Wildcats.

Grantham will be coaching against UK for the fifth consecutive year after facing the Wildcats for four years in a row while at Georgia.

"This will be my fifth time playing them and they have really improved," Grantham said. "Mark (Stoops) has done a really good job with them. We understand we are going to have to bring our best game to compete.

"The QB (Patrick Towles) is the biggest thing - that's the hugest thing as far as I see with the improvement of their offense."

The 6-foot-5, 238-pound Towles only played in five games last season but has been the starter for the Wildcats the entire season as a sophomore. Towles has completed 211 of 364 passes for 2,542 yards and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Grantham called the former Fort Thomas Highlands standout a "really competitive guy," noting he's also run for 293 yards and six TDs.

"He's an excellent quarterback and has some talent around him," Grantham said. "He just makes plays both throwing and running. Anytime that your quarterback is a competitive guy, I think it really enhances players around him.

"We understand we have a challenge with him and with their offense."

Grantham said UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown has done a good job of keeping defenses on their heels for much of the season. The Wildcats have averaged 390.5 yards a game, including 236.2 yards a game passing and 154.3 yards rushing.

UK ranks No. 72 nationally in total offense and No. 69 in scoring at 28.2 points a game.

"Schematically they are very sound in what they do," Grantham said. "They formation you and try and get the leverage on the defense; they try and get their playmakers in space.

"The offensive line is physical and tough."

Grantham said with four running backs that can break a long gain at anytime and the added playmakers at the wide receiver position has made the UK offense stronger.

"They had some skill on that side of the ball (last year), but they have more this year and that's been big for them," he said. "The quarterback they have is willing to make plays and that makes everyone else around him that much better.

"They are a very good offense and we recognize that. We are going to have to come out and really play well against them and compete."

U of L on defense now ranks seventh in total defense at 290.2 yards per game, including third in rushing defense at 88.5 yards. The Cardinals held Notre Dame to minus-15 yards of rushing last week in a 31-28 decision.

"This is a huge game for us," Grantham said. "This one that can get us to nine wins. We have to stay focused and get prepared for a good team.

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