Preview: Rutgers vs. Louisville

The Louisville offense is the most explosive in the college game. They can beat you with the run or the pass. And they have one of the best offensive minds in the country in Coach Petrino. It also helps to have one of the nation's premier QBs in Brian Brohm. On offense, they are averaging 39 points per game. They move the football exceptionally well.

The Louisville offense is the most explosive in the college game. They can beat you with the run or the pass. And they have one of the best offensive minds in the country in Coach Petrino. It also helps to have one of the nation’s premier QBs in Brian Brohm. On offense, they are averaging 39 points per game. They move the football exceptionally well. They are a balanced offense. Per game, they average 203 yards on the ground, and 290 yards through the air. And perhaps the scariest stat, they are above 50% on 3rd down conversions. For Rutgers to be successful, they got to get Brohm on the ground. Well, the UL Qbs have only been sacked 12 times this season. What all this equates to is #2 in the country in total offense and #4 in the country in scoring offense.

QB- Brian Brohm. All in the Rutgers community got to experience this nightmare last year. The Rutgers defense had success with getting to Brohm early in the game last year. This year, they need to get to him the entire game. He is a tough man who will be hard to fluster. But Rutgers must mix its blitz packages, hit him hard, early, and often. On the year, Brohm has a 153.60 passer efficiency, and has completed 63% of his throws. He is very accurate and gets nice velocity on his balls. While not much of a runner, he has excellent presence and mobility in the pocket.

RB- While Louisville has lost Michael Bush for the season the backfield by committee has not lost a step. This is mostly a three-headed monster, plus a blocking fullback that gets his occasional dive play. Sr. Kolby Smith has a nice combination of size and speed. He is a very patient and efficient RB. On the year, Kolby has 546 yards and 6 TDs, while averaging 5.6/carry. George Strippling, who had a big game last year against Rutgers, is the speed guy. He is the most explosive back in the stable and is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. He has 368 yards on the year at 5.8 yards/carry. Fr Anthony Allen is the future. He is a big, bruising, physical back. He has been productive in his true freshman campaign with 303 yards and 7TDs on the season. FB Brock Bolen does not get that many carries, but when he does is averaging 7.1 yards/carry.

WR- In prior years, Louisville would have 4-big play receivers in their arsenal. This year, they have become more traditional in their scheme and the majority of reps go to two-big weapons, Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia. While Urrutia is the flashy superstar, Douglas is their Mr. Dependable. The smaller Douglas has great speed, runs excellent routes, and is a flat-out football player. He has 41-catches for 636 on the year. The sophomore Urrutia, is a freak. He stands at 6’6” 230, is fast, athletic and incredibly strong. He is a mismatch for most college CBs. He is one of the game’s best end zone weapons. On the year, he has 633 yards on a 20 yard/catch average and has scored 5 TDs. TE Gary Barnidge is a large, physical weapon at 6’6 235 pounds. He also runs very well and has good hands. He has 16 catches at 17.1 yards/catch. Others in the passing game to keep an eye out for are 6’3 200 lb Georgia Tech transfer, Patrick Carter, Notre-Dame transfer Chris Vaughn, and Jimmy Riley. Carter is a great athlete who is starting to get into the flow of games. Riley had a key 40-yard reception in the victory last week against West Virginia.

OL- They are big, aggressive, and get off the ball well. Combined with all the weapons they have on offense, also makes them that much more effective. The star of the offense is C Eric Wood (6’4 297), who has been named to the Remington, Outland, and Lombardi watch lists. The right side of the line consists of seniors. RG Kurt Quarterman (6’5” 330) has started 32 straight games for the Cards. RT Renardo Foster (6’7” 325) was one of the top JC OL in the country two years ago. The left side of the line consists of Jr OG Danny Barlowe (6’5 290) and So OT George Bussey (6’4 300).

Defense- Like Rutgers, these guys rely on speed, speed, speed. And they have made key plays throughout the year. On the year, the defense has held opponents to 105 yards/game against the run, and 211 yards/game against the pass. However, they have played suspect at times. Against West Virginia, they looked very vulnerable, especially against the run. Last week they tried to stack the box on Slaton and White and cause West Virginia to pass. Well, when Slaton was healthy, that strategy was not all that successful. Expect Louisville to stack the box this week again and try to stop Rice and Leonard. That will allow Mike Teel to have opportunities down the field. Both Teel and the wideouts must make plays this week if Rutgers is to be successful.

DL- The heart-and-soul of the DL is 19-year old Sr DT Amobi Okoye (6’2 305). This young man is strong as an ox and gets great penetration. He leads the team with 10 tackles for loss. The other DT is So Earl Heyman (6’3” 285). Heyman was one of the top DL recruits in the country last year and played considerably as a true freshman at DE. Fr DE Peanut Whitehead (6’6” 245) was one of the top players in the state of Alabama last year and spurned Auburn to play at Louisville. He is another exceptional athlete. Jr Brandon Cox (6’4”250) is the other DE. He forced a fumble in last week’s game.

LB- SLB Jr Malik Jackson (6’2 231) is a very active player. He leads the team in sacks with 5.0 and had a fumble return for a TD last week. He also had a big game against Rutgers last year. WLB Preston Smith (6’1 220) is a two year starter and is amongst the team leaders in tackles with 30. So MLB Lamar Myles has had a big year and supplanted Nate Harris is the starter. He is 2nd in the team in tackles with 30. Nate Harris will be the first LB in off the bench. He has an exceptional nose for the ball and plays with lots of intensity.

DB- Two Sr. players man the CB position. William Gay is a three year starter at CB and amongst the best playmakers at that position in the Big-East. The other CB, Gavin Smart, is a small, fast, cover CB. SS Brandon Sharp is a big-hitter and leads the Cardinal defense in tackles. FS Latarrius Thomas is a true freshman, but an exceptional talent at the position.

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