The Cardinals scored an impressive 63-27 win over the previously unbeaten Beavers to improve their record to 2-0 heading into this weekends game against South Florida in Tampa.
Having allowed rival Kentucky back into the game after leading the Wildcats 28-7 at halftime in the season opener, Petrino said Monday he was particularly pleased with the effort his team gave over the weekend.
"After watching the video, I was very pleased with our game," Petrino said. "I think the biggest improvement we made from the Kentucky game to the Oregon State game was playing fast, and playing with great effort."
Petrino also sounded happy with the play of his defensive line, crediting that unit with changing the games complexion – and momentum – after Oregon State jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Paced by Elvis Dumervil's three sacks and Montavious Stanley's seven tackles, U of L's front four once again proved a dominant influence for the Cardinals.
Despite the strong play of seniors Dumervil and Stanley, Petrino expressed great pleasure with how well his youngsters on the line performed. He singled out four players – tackle Earl Heyman, who made his college debut, redshirt freshman tackle Adrian Grady, sophomore end Brandon Cox and junior college transfer Zach Anderson. Heyman made two tackles, broke up a pass and recovered a fumble in his first action, while Cox had two tackles, including one for loss.
"It was fun to watch our young guys get in there and play as hard as they could," said Petrino. "They were flying around and playing hard. I really think it helped us stay fresh by rotating those guys in. That certainly became the big change in the game when we started hitting the quarterback."
Petrino also was pleased with Lamar Myles, who started his first game against Oregon State. A 6-0, 214-pound redshirt freshman, Myles made two tackles and forced a fumble.
Bobby Petrino was pleased about many
things after his teams 63-27 win over
Oregon State, particularly the emergence
of receiver Mario Urrutia.
But not everything was rosy for the Cardinals. Petrino said receiver Broderick Clark began his rehab Sunday after straining his knee on the opening kickoff Saturday and could miss a significant portion of the season.
"He started yesterday on the rehab," Petrino said. "It's probably a harder injury for a receiver to come off of then an offensive or defensive linemen because of the amount of cutting and changing directions that they do."
Petrino said reports that Clark might miss 3-4 weeks were "optimistic."
Petrino, though happy with the way his defense responded after Oregon State scored on their first two possessions, wants to see his defense keep opposing offenses out of the end zone early in the game. In both games this season, Louisville's foes have scored touchdowns on their opening drive.
‘We've got to make sure we don't give up a scoring drive on the first possession," Petrino said. "That's our challenge and our goal."
And of course Petrino was happy to watch the emergence of receiver Mario Urrutia, who caught 7 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns after Clark's injury. Petrino admitted that Urrutia probably wouldn't have seen as much playing time as did against OSU had Clark not been injured at the start of the game.
"I'm not sure we would have used him as much but we did have a plan to have him and Broderick in the game at the same time," Petrino said. "It was good to see him break out and go. He's had scrimmages where he's had three touchdowns and looked just about the same way. It was really his first opportunity to face that type of coverage. He didn't just run the ‘go' routes well, he ran a real good ‘curl' route and a nice ‘comeback'."
Now the Cardinals, who climbed to No. 8 in the coaches poll this week, will get ready for their Big East opener against a familiar former C-USA foe – South Florida. The Bulls are 2-1 on the season after knocking off Central Florida 31-14 last weekend.
I'm not going to worry about the ranking," Petrino said. "We just need to go play each week and however it turns out, it turns out. Right now, there's a lot at stake every game we play."