Here are 5 takeaways from the weekly news conference for Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino; his team is 5-1 and ranked No. 7 in AP

Here are 5 takeaways from the weekly news conference for Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino. The Cardinals are 5-1 and will play host to North Carolina State on Saturday at noon in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Here are 5 takeaways from the weekly news conference for Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino.

The Cardinals are 5-1 and will play host to North Carolina State on Saturday at noon in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

1. Cards need to get better in areas: Louisville narrowly beat Duke 24-14 last weekend after an open week and Bobby Petrino said the Cardinals need to get back to work this week and "improve."

"We have to go out this week and have a great week of practice," Petrino said. "We have to be more intense, more into our focus, more into preparation like we had for games we played early in the fall.

"I feel like we were losing a little bit of intensity and focus."

Petrino said the style Duke played dictated the lower score because of the time of possession, but he still said the Cardinals didn't play near their potential against the Blue Devils.

"We were not at the top of our game," he said. "We need to get back to our players working at the best game played in the year."

2. Jeremy Smith emerging: Running back Jeremy Smith has been getting more reps lately and that's likely to continue as Petrino called him a "tough, hard-nosed" runner who can break the long runs.

Smith has four carries for 97 yards, including the 80-yard TD scamper, on Friday against Duke.

"Leading up to this season, in every scrimmage Jeremy had one long run," Petrino said. "In our last scrimmage this fall he didn't break a long run  and I went up to him and said, 'What's going on'?

"He's really starting to play well and one reason he's in there a lot is because of pass protection."

Smith has carried 21 times for 217 yards - 10.3 yards a carry - and five touchdowns, while also catching nine passes for 119 yards and one TD.

3. Matt Dayes a challenge: N.C. State running back Matt Dayes will be a challenge for the Cardinals. He has rushed 120 times for 669 yards and four touchdowns in six games for the Wolfpack.

Dayes ran for 126 yards in a 10-3 win over Notre Dame and had 106 yards in the loss last week at Clemson. But Louisville has seen him before. He carries 20 times for just 68 yards, including one 28-yard run, last season against the Cardinals.

"We played one of best defensive games last year," Petrino said of the game against the Wolfpack. "And we certainly needed it because our offense struggled before we found some points."

4. Kicking game woes: The kicking game has been trouble for the Cardinals this season with Petrino using Blanton Creque and Evan O'Hara as the placekicker. Creque was used at Clemson, while O'Hara was the guy against Duke.

O'Hara is 3-for-6 on field goals this season, while Creque is 4 of 5 and is likely to get the start this week.

"We’ve got to get better at it because we will probably have a game come down to a field goal," Petrino said.

5. Better on third down: Petrino wasn't happy with his offense or defense on third-down last week. The Cardinals converted on just 5 of 11 on third-down and the defense stopped the Blue Devils only 8 of 16 times.

"We didn't get off the field on third-down like normally do," Petrino said. "That made the game very short and very different for everybody. It's one of those things we just had to battle and find a way to win the game."


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