Against the Miners, the U of L defense seemingly came out a bit sluggish as UTEP drove for a touchdown on the games first possession. Petrino put considerable blame on the Cardinal kick off coverage unit for setting up the Miners with good field position.
"I thought our defense started out a little bit slow," Petrino said of UTEP opening drive touchdown. "Really what hurt our defense more than anything was our kickoff cover team. We didn't cover very well and we'll correct that…I'd rather have the starters not on it [kick coverage team] but we're going to have to do that."
Once again, the Louisville offense performed well against UTEP, scoring 42 points and gaining oer 400 yards for the third consecutive game this season.
"The offense executed well," Petrino said. "Stefan did a nice job…Lionel Gates ran the ball well and again our offensive line did a good job protecting the quarterback. It seemed to be Joshua Tinch's day as far as the receivers went. I think four of the five catches Tinch made were for third down conversions and the other one was for a touchdown. He's a guy that you enjoy coaching because he plays so hard."
Petrino seems please with certain characteristics his team possesses, particularly the way his team uses their speed and pre-game preparation to its advantage.
"I like the way we compete," Petrino said. "I like our speed. I think we're a fast team. I've watched the first three game and I thought we were the fastest team on the field…and we're preparing well."
Though off to a fast start, Petrino realizes the Cards have many aspects of the game to improve upon.
"We need to stop the run better. I think that's important to us," Petrino said. "We need to tackle better on defense and special teams. More so on special teams I think than on defense."
Against UTEP, freshman Michael Bush saw his most extensive action and Petrino seemed to indicate more things are in store for the talented rookie from Male High School.
"We can't have enough ideas to get Michael the ball," Petrino said. "He can do so many good things with the ball."
Coming in 0-3, Petrino feels the Temple Owls are much better than the record they enter with. Last Saturday, the Owls dropped a triple overtime thriller to Conference USA foe, Cincinnati.
"Temple looks good on film," Petrino said. "They play real hard on defense. They run well and they're much faster team than what we just played. And they stack the box also and they're very similar scheme wise as UTEP in certain ways. So we'll have to execute our passing game and find different ways to run the ball.
Then offensively, they had three wide receivers last week go over one hundred yards receiving. They execute [their offense] well. They throw it around, they run a lot of the spread running game where the quarterbacks a threat with the reads. And their special teams are better than what we saw last week. They've had some problems kicking field goals, so hopefully that will continue.
"I think they had a very good chance to beat Cincinnati and actually should have beaten them. And the Penn State game was close the whole time and they defended Penn State very well.
Petrino continues to be pleased with the play of junior starting quarterback Stefan Lefors, who ranks seventh in the nation in passing efficiency. Lefors completed 12-19 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns against UTEP in about two and half quarters of action.
"He's been making quick decisions," Petrino said of Lefors performance in the first three games. "And they've been the right ones for the most part."
Petrino also expressed concern with C-USA's new policy not to blow the ball dead when an offensive players forward progress has been stopped.
"They don't want an inadvertent whistle," Petrino explained.
Broderick Clark, who caught four passes for 48 yards against UTEP, still hasn't lived down the ball he dropped from Michael Bush in the second half.
"I owe Mike one," Clark said of his dropped pass that would have given freshman Michael Bush his first passing touchdown as a Cardinal.
Having just tied the game at 7 in the first quarter, linebacker Rod Day picked off UTEP quarterback Orlando Cruz and helped give the Cardinal offense excellent field possession to take its first lead of the game.
"It felt great to finally get a pick," Day said of his interception that set up the Cards second score of the UTEP game.
Day also thinks the defense has the ability to make big plays this season if it can eliminate some of the mistakes its made the first three games.
"Yes sir," Day responded when asked about the defenses ability to make the big play. "It's a big play defense [but we've got to] eliminate the mental mistakes."