Monday Press Conference Notebook

Press Conference Audio from CardsTV: Head Coach Charlie Strong | C Mario Benavides

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong met with reporters Monday afternoon at the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex to recap Sunday’s Governor’s Cup win over Kentucky and preview the Cardinals’ upcoming home game with Missouri State. Louisville and Missouri State will kick off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., ET at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and the game will be televised locally by WHAS-TV.

The Cardinals opened the season in impressive fashion with a dominating 32-14 victory against the Wildcats in front of a school record crowd of 55,386 in Louisville. Missouri State enters the first ever matchup between the two programs following a 51-9 loss at Kansas State on Saturday night.

Notes & quotes from Monday’s press conference

  • Louisville had two players — Senorise Perry (108 yards on 16 carries) and Jeremy Wright (105 yards on 22 rushes) — finish with at least 100 yards each for the first time since the 2010 season. Meanwhile, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had just two incompletions in 21 attempts to set a new single game school record for completion percentage (90.5) in the winning effort.

    Charlie Strong: “Just going back out there and looking at the film this morning, looking at our offense – very balanced. You look at Teddy Bridgewater, 19-for-21. Just the day that he had was just outstanding. Then, you had two running backs that go for over 100 yards. I attribute a lot of that to our offensive line. They did a great job of blocking, opening up holes and then protecting the quarterback. One of our goals over the summer and then through fall camp – we talked about penalties. We had two on offense, which we would like to eliminate and get to zero. Then, you look at our turnovers, and we had zero turnovers. So you just look at us on offense – just a great effort on offense. Our wide receivers did a great job of catching the ball. Even downfield blocking – when the running backs did break the line of scrimmage, you saw guys cutting guys and getting guys down. On that long run by Senorise (Perry), it was amazing just watching receivers just posting guys and getting guys down and then Senorise making the long run.”

  • Overall, the Cardinals finished with 466 yards of total offense in Sunday’s win with a balanced attack. Louisville threw for 247 yards and rushed for 219 yards while scoring touchdowns on each of its first three possessions. On each scoring drive, the Cardinals marched at least 85 yards to reach the end zone in impressive fashion.

    CS: “Our whole offense yesterday was on point better than any other time I have been here. You look at your quarterback, 19-for-21; you look at two running backs over 100 yards. You just felt like they were in sync. They take the ball and drive 99 yards the first drive. Then, you get it and go 85 (yards) and then you come back and go 93 (yards) with it. In four opportunities in the first half, we scored three touchdowns.”

  • Defensively, the Cardinals allowed more than 370 total yards of offense against the Wildcats, including 280 through the air. A key stat that helped extend drives for the Wildcats was their 7-for-13 production in third down efficiency.

    CS: “Kentucky came in with a great scheme just throwing the underneath passes. The thing that is displeasing on defense is the third down. We just did not get off of the field on third down. You look at the first half and I think they were something like 6-for-8. But, we’ve just got to do a better job getting off the field on third down. We did a great job of stopping the run. They ended up with less than 100 yards rushing. Defensively, I just thought we could have played better.

  • One key area of concern entering Sunday’s opener was the Cardinals’ special teams. Redshirt freshman John Wallace emerged as the starting place kicker and converted his only field goal attempt of the day from 22 yards.

    CS: “We haven’t been consistent in practice, but we were able to get our field goal chance and hit the field goal. The guys did a good job of covering. We have to do a better job on the kickoff team. We allowed two of them to come out.”

  • Missouri State is led by head coach Terry Allen, who is 120-101 in his 20th year as a head coach and 25-42 in his seventh season at Missouri State. In last week’s loss to Kansas State, the Bears threw for 257 yards on offense led by the combination of quarterback Ashton Glaser and receiver Dorian Buford, who turned in a career game of 114 yards on seven catches.

    CS: “It is a team that has a spread offense. Their quarterback transferred in from Missouri. So, they do a good job of throwing the ball around. You look at halftime against Kansas State, it was 9-6. But, then Kansas State got on track in the second half and ended up blowing them out. They return all starters on defense — eleven starters coming back on defense. So, it will be a great challenge. Our challenge is going to be getting our players ready to go play.”

    “We have a short week. They have today off, which is Monday. We come back on Tuesday. We’ll look at the film from Sunday’s game and then get them going on Missouri State. It is a short week but we know our preparation has to be there.”

  • One area of emphasis for the Louisville coaches has been the importance of playing well at home. Entering the 2012 season, the Cardinals were just 6-7 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium under the leadership of Strong. After Sunday’s win, the Cardinals will be looking to maintain a high level of energy and execution.

    CS: “Just with us getting off to a good start on Sunday and that really gets us going now. They have to understand that you have to defend home turf. We have seven home games and if you go and play well at home, it should carry over to road games. A lot of those guys from yesterday were here last season, so they understand how important it is to play at home. But, it’s the preparation of us as a coaching staff getting our guys ready to go play. A lot of times, if you look at us as a coaching staff, we kind of start listening to what everyone is saying, but, we cannot allow that to happen.”

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