Ground game remains concern for Petrino

The Cardinals haven't had a 100-yard performance from a running back since Michael Bush ran for 128-yards against Kentucky and after posting a season-low performance against Cincinnati, the ground game remains a concern for U of L head coach Bobby Petrino.

The University of Louisville's 23-17 win over Cincinnati on Saturday helped the Cardinals improve to 6-0 on the season and climb to number six in both the Coaches and Associated Press Top 25 polls. While any win is a good win, the narrow margin of victory indicated areas of concern for a team that entered the game as the nation's top offense. Despite almost allowing a game winning drive by the Bearcats, the Cardinal defense continued to play well. The focus of conerns for the Cardinals as they begin their preparations for Saturday's contest at Syracuse lay primarily on the shoulders of the offense.

"In watching the video of the game the other day I was happy with the way our defense played for most of the game," U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said during his Monday afternoon press conference. "They really bailed us out in the first quarter, when they held them to a field goal and then when they missed another one, which really, really helped us. I just didn't like the way we played the final drive on defense. We were probably a little too conservative, playing a little soft and trying to work the clock. Then again, the problem of a running quarterback concerns me a little bit. We weren't able to tackle him a few times and missed a couple tackles. Other than that, the defense did a great job."

While Petrino is relatively pleased with the performance of the Cardinal defense, which ranks 21st in the nation this week, he found the occasional lack of focus and a few missed opportunities when reviewing the offensive game film from Saturday's win over rival Cincinnati.

"Offensively as you watch it, we're executing at times, but we're not as consistent as we need to be," said Petrino. "It ends up being one person here, or one person there. We have to get back to where we have all eleven guys on the field doing their job. Again, I was very, very proud of Brian. I think he is as tough as they come and as competitive as they come. I know that he's not happy with his performance because he missed a couple that looked like they could have been big plays, but he did a nice job."

Through six games, Brock Bolen
is averaging 7.7 yards per carry.
The Cardinal offense hasn't had a 100-yard rusher since Michael Bush's 128-yard performance against Kentucky in the season opener and after rushing for a season-low 105 yards, Petrino echoed the concerns that he has about the ground game for the past few weeks.

"We need to crank up our running game," said Petrino. "We are all aware of that. We have to keep working at it. I did like the way that Brock Bolen and Anthony Allen ran the ball. I thought Anthony gave us a lot of physical play, as did Brock. We'll work to continue to improve there."

"We have not ran the ball as well as I want to since Michael's been gone from the starting lineup," Petrino later added. "We must improve there."

After studying Saturday's game film, Petrino believes that it is just team execution that has caused the recent offensive concerns and is something that can be corrected.

"When you watch the video we are very capable of getting back to where we are executing and operating just like we have in the past," said Petrino. "We just need to put it all together and on a consistent basis."

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