The biggest difference from this team compared to the one that shredded the Canes in the bowl game is they no longer have All-American quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. RS sophomore Will Gardner takes over. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Gardner finished last season 8-of-12 for 31 yards and two scores. He's very unproven heading into the season.
Louisville will use two primary running backs in the game and they're led by 240-pound Dominique Brown. He finished last season with 825 yards and eight scores. Michael Dyer, a former five-star recruit, will also see time. He ran for 223 yards and two scores on 44 carries last season.
The wide receiver position took a major hit when Davante Parker suffered a foot injury recently. The leading pass-catcher a season ago will not play in this game. The most experienced player there is now senior Eli Rogers, a one-time Hurricane commitment, who caught 44 passes for 536 yards and four scores last season. The second option is James Quick, who caught six for 73 as a freshman last season.
Gerald Christian, a one-time Florida Gator, is the primary tight end. In his first season as Cardinal, Christian caught 28 passes for 416 yards and four scores. He looks to be one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in all of college football.
Up front, the Cardinal are led by left tackle Jamon Brown. He has started the last 26 games and protected Bridgewater's blindside all last season. Left guard John Miller, who is from the Miami area, has started 34 games and was a 2nd team All Conference pick a year ago. Right guard Jake Smith has started 38 games and was a first team All Conference pick a season ago. Right tackle Ryan Mack is also a returning starter. This will be one of the best units Miami faces all season.
B.J. Dubose and Sheldon Rankins are the starters at defensive end. Dubose has four career sacks heading into his senior season. Rankins has three career starts, including the bowl game against Miami. DeAngelo Brown is the nose and missed all of last season due to injury.
Lorenzo Mauldin, an outside linebacker, is the team's top pass rusher. He finished last season with 10 sacks. The most active linebacker is James Burgess, whose father played at Miami and who was once committed to the Canes. He finished his sophomore season in 2013 with 72 tackles.
The top cover guy is Charles Gains, a former Miami Central Rocket. The talented senior had five interceptions last season. Safety Terrell Floyd has seven career picks and is very active.
Kicker John Wallace has connected on 80-percent of his field goals in his career and has a long of 45. 13-percent of his career kickoffs have gone for touchbacks. Ryan Johnson is entering his third season as the team's starting punter. His career average is 40.3 yards.