U of L vs. MSU: Inside The Game

InsideTheVille.com takes you 'Inside' tonight's season-opener against Murray State. Here's six things you'll want to keep a close eye on when Louisville takes the field Thursday night.

Louisville vs. Murray State: Six things to watch closely tonight
Steve Kragthorpe has expressed some concern about the depth on the offense front. With Louisville's first big test still a few weeks away, will Kragthorpe look to get his young backups on the offensive line some meaningful game experience? If so, how will true freshmen Mark Wetterer and Greg Tomczyk, redshirt freshman Jeff Adams and JUCO transfer Abdul Kuyateh respond in their first Division 1 appearance?
Keep a close eye on junior college transfers Woodny Turenne and Willie Williams. Turenne, who will start at right corner, could quickly become one of the top DB's in Big East. He's highly regarded as a speedy cover guy, but U of L coaches and players have been talking about his physical style of play. Williams should also see plenty of time at weakside LB. He had nine sacks in just four games last year in the junior college ranks. Keep a close eye on how and in what situation U of L DC Mike Cassity uses the 6-3, 225 pound Williams.
Pay close attention to the U of L offense. While OC Charlie Stubbs isn't likely to open the playbook against the Racers, fans will be interested to get their first look at Louisville's post-Petrino offense. Petrino, whose offense was based on a power running game and a 55-45 run/pass mix, might contrast with Stubbs offense. Will Louisville's running attack become more finesse under Stubbs? What will the run/pass ratio be? Will the Cards continue to get big yards on first down? Just some things to watch and think about when Louisville has the ball.
Keep a close eye on Gary Barnidge and Scott Kuhn. Charlie Stubbs loves to get the tight end involved and both Barnidge and Kuhn have the ability to make a difference in the passing game. At Tulsa, TE Garrett Mills led the Golden Hurricanes with 87 receptions in 2005, and caught 51 passes in 2004. The 6-6 Barnidge, one of the top TE's in the Big East, caught 31 passes for 511 yards and four touchdowns. Don't be surprised if those numbers aren't significantly higher this season with Stubbs calling the plays.
Will Anthony Allen and/or Brock Bolen separate themselves from the crowd at the running back position? Or will Steve Kragthorpe favor the committee approach in rotate Allen, Bolen, George Stripling and Sergio Spencer? Allen rushed for 13 touchdowns last year as a freshman. He figures to continue to get the call in short yardage and goal line situations. The big question: Is Allen ready to become an every down-type of back?
Since arriving at U of L, Steve Kragthorpe has placed a heavy emphasis on special teams. And for good reason. K Art Carmody won the Groza Award last season and returns. JaJuan Spillman averaged 27 yards per kick return as a freshman and returns. Keep an eye on the kick return game. The rule change that moved kickoffs back to the 30 yard line could have a major impact on the game this season. How well will the Cards kick coverage be? Will the elusive Spillman become an even more dangerous special teams weapon?

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