Bobby Petrino previews NC State game

Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and linebacker James Burgess discuss upcoming contest against NC State

University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and linebacker James Burgess met with assembled during on Monday afternoon to review the Cardinals win over Samford and its upcoming contest at NC State.

Here's a notebook from the press conference:

Taking Care of Business

Louisville's 45-3 win over Samford on Saturday wasn't a surprise.  The lopsided victory was very much anticipated.  Doing exactly what was expected is something that pleased head coach Bobby Petrino.

"Like I said after the game, it was a good win for us," he said. "It's what we were supposed to do, come out and take care of business."

Using a number of new players in varying formations thoughout the game, Petrino enjoyed reviewing the game film to see how the individual and unit performances were.

"What we saw was executing what we practiced," he said. "Guys going out and working the schemes we practiced. Enjoying it and having fun."

NC State

Following a neutral site contest and three home games to begin the season, the Cardinals will hit the road this weekend to face ACC rival NC State. The Wolfpack enter Saturday's contest at 4-0 and have a seven game winning streak that reaches back to the final three games of last season.

"Now we have to have a great week of practice and go on the road and play at North Carolina State," said Petrino. "They're a football team that looks really good on defense. They're pretty much the same group of guys that we played last year."

U of L defeated NC State last season 30-18, but enter the week as a four point underdog.

The Wolfpack rank third nationally in total defense and ninth in scoring defense.

"They've done a nice job defensively shutting people down running the ball and stopping big plays," said Petrino.

Led by quarterback Jacoby Brissett, NC State's offense garners 479 yards per game, led by an average of 259 rushing yards an outing.

No 'OR'

For the first time this season, the U of L depth chart doesn't include an 'OR' next the player names at the quarterback position.

Freshman Lamar Jackson is listed as the starter, followed by Reggie Bonnafon.  Kyle Bolin is listed third team, with Will Gardner next.

It will be the third career start for Jackson, who earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors for his performance against Samford.

"He has really unbelievable instinctsm" said Petrino. "He can see things and react to things that sometimes other guys can't. He just has to continue to operate the game better. Operate within the scheme and the game better. Trust his protection better at times.  He can make the throws."

For the season, Jackson has completed 60 percent of his 70 pass attempts for 495 yards and two touchdowns and four interceptions.  Always a threat to run, the rookie is the team's leading rusher with 314 yards and four touchdowns on 47 attempts.

Not Good Enough

The Louisville defense prepared for the 2015 season with the expectation of being one of the best in the nation and while the season is just four games old, the Cardinals aren't where they thought they'd be.

Giving up 348 yards of offense per game, U of L ranks 46th in the nation, while allowing 22 points per game average has the team checking in at No. 50 in scoring defense.  According to senior linebacker James Burgess, that's not good enough.

"Pretty good, but not good enough because of inconsistent play," he said. "We have to be more consistent and we have to stop teams from scoring as much as they have."

Interception Leaders

Following four weeks of play, the Cardinals are in familiar territory once again. U of L led the nation with 26 interceptions last season and with nine already snagged this season, they are once again leading the way.

Linebacker James Burgess, who has an interception on the season, says he's not surprised by the performance of the secondary.

"Our secondary has been doing very good in practice in camp and in spring ball getting turnovers," he said. "It's something that we expected this year, so its not a surprise at all."

Josh Harvey-Clemons, Trumaine Washington and Chucky Williams each have a pair of interceptions. Joining Burgess with one is Shaq Wiggins and Jaire Alexander.

Jeremy Smith Okay

Running back Jeremy Smith injured his shoulder during first half action on Saturday and didn't return.  He's expected to be available this week for practice and on Saturday against NC State.

"Jeremy should be good to go," said Petrino. "He was actually available in the second half, but because of the score I just made the decision to hold him out and get him ready for next week."

Smith has rushed for 41 yards and two touchdowns on the season.


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