University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino met with the media for more than 20 minutes at his weekly press conference on Monday, taking time to review the loss at Pittsburgh and preview the upcoming road game at rival Kentucky.
Petrino, who is 5-0 against the Wildcats as the Cardinals head coach, described the upcoming annual contest for the Governor's Cup as a "huge game for us."
Louisville has won four straight against Kentucky and holds a 13-8 series lead in the modern rivalry.
Here's a quick notebook from Petrino's press conference.
When the Louisville depth chart was released on Monday afternoon, some had to make a double-take when viewing the updated depth chart to make certain it wasn't game one's inserted by mistake.
Just as was the case up to the moment before the Cardinals took the field at the Georgia Dome to face Auburn, the decision of a starting quarterback was an unknown. Instead, the depth chart listed multiple possiblities with 'or' listed next to each. The freshly confirmed depth chart does indeed give the option of either Kyle Bolin or Lamar Jackson.
Petrino explained the decision to not have a starter named at this point during his press conference.
"That's hard, but it's kind of how it played out. You would have like to see us come out last week and play and do everything right and it not be an issue. We made some errors, decided to make a switch to get some momentum went in there he did some good things. I don't think we can make a determination by sitting in our office. I think we need to get out on the field and go out there to practice, see who's doing the best job of leading and who's doing the best job in their preparation to determine who's going to be the starter."
After feasting on a soft schedule, including a pair of one-win SEC programs in South Carolina and Missouri, that saw Kentucky race to a 4-1 start to the season, the Wildcats found things even bumpier than their week five overtime win against FCS foe Eastern Kentucky. The next five games were all losses, as Kentucky struggled in league play, getting outscored by average of 34-17 during that stretch to finish 2-6 in the SEC East. UK rebounded last week, defeating Charlotte, a first-year FBS program, 58-10 last weekend to improve to 5-6 overall.
As the final game nears, UK checks in at No. 57 nationally in total defense, including No. 89 against the run. Offensively, the Wildcats strength is on the ground, where it averages 169 yards per outing.
"Defensively, I think they are good. I think they do a good job, people do not get a lot of yards rushing on them or passing on them. They have had good success on third down so I think it is a great challenge for us. Offensively they ran the ball really well last week, they have had games where they have thrown it well so I think it is important for us to do a good job getting ready and like all games you have to go in and stop the run first."
Kentucky's success is often determined by how well running back Boom Williams performs. The sophomore has made nine starts and leads the Wildcats with 818 rushing yards. He's averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
"Yeah I think he is a really good player and his ability to run. We have got to be able to tackle him, that is one of the things we are working hard at is tackling better. We missed some tackles in the open field the other day so that is a concern for us."
As Kentucky exited the locker room for warm-ups prior to the 2014 meeting between the Bluegrass rivals, the Wildcat players, as instructed by their coaching staff, approached and taunted the Louisville players who were already conducting their pre-game drills creating a tense setting on the field.
"Yeah none of us want to see that, none of us want to see that and that is not how it should be in football. It is always hard for me to understand when there is a big game on the line and somebody gets a 15-yard penalty. I was proud of some of our guys in pregame because there were some guys that were surrounded, they kept their poise, they got hit in the facemask and didn't do anything back so I was proud of their poise in that."
Outside of unexpected antics planned by an opposing coaching staff, the Cardinals will encounter an environment that they have been prepped for.
"Yeah first you have to deal with the noise and we have to be able to execute and not make mistakes. So part of practice will be being able to work and do that and then you just have to focus and concentrate and not let the outside influences distract you and that is part of being a football team that can go play on the road and play in big games on the road. I think we have some advantages in the fact that we opened the season in Atlanta at Auburn in a huge atmosphere, loud, loud crowd. We played at Florida State you know so it shouldn't be unfamiliar to us."