The Louisville Cardinals will start from scratch in the 2018 season with new head coach Charlie Strong taking over for Steve Kragthorpe. Many fans believe this is the hire that the school needs to compete in the competitive Big East. Strong has a defensive mind and should have strong recruiting ties from his time at Florida. He has his work cut out for him, however, inheriting a four win team that has not played in a bowl game since 2006. Strong will get a taste of the Bluegrass rivalry in Kentucky when his Cardinals host the Wildcats in the opener. Odds are 9 to 1 that Louisville wins a Big East title.
If Louisville is going to make some noise this season, the offense is going to have improve a great deal. They simply struggled to move the ball with a number of injuries depleting the talent and a carousel of quarterbacks never giving the offense direction. The offense averaged just 18 points per game. Newly minted offensive coordinator Mike Sanford runs a system similar to Urban Meyer at Florida that should have the Cards lighting up the scoreboard more frequently. RB Victor Anderson is probably the most gifted player on this end, but he like many other teammates was injured for the majority of the 2009 season.
He possesses great speed and good vision to make up for his lack of size. Settling on one quarterback is a must for Louisville. Adam Froman is most likely the man for the job after leading the team in passing last season, but he will get pushed by three other guys vying for that position. If Louisville’s offense is anything like Florida’s, there will be numerous formations used and a wide array of misdirection. The desired results won’t come right away until coach Strong gets the type of players he needs for this unique spread option offense.
Strong’s background in defense should pay immediate dividends for the Cards. He has experience on the defensive side of the ball as only one projected starter is an underclassman. The top four tacklers from last year’s team are gone so this unit seems to be starting fresh along with the new coach. Defensive coordinator Vance
Bedford accepted Strong’s invitation to leave Florida for Louisville. It is pretty clear that Strong wanted someone who shared the same visions as himself. Stopping the run will be major emphasis number one for a defense that allowed 165 yards/game on the ground in 09′. DE William Savoy is one notable returnee after leading the team in sacks with five. Corner Johnny Patrick tallied 53 tackles a season ago, which is the top number returning. There is not much star power on this team so it will take the entire 11 players working together to obtain the goals they have set forth.
The schedule sets up nicely for the Cardinals in 2010. Four of their seven Big East games are at home and they play seven games in all on home turf. It is the 66th ranked schedule which should help this rebuilding program. I don’t think they will return to a bowl game for the first time in four years, but I do believe they will at least match last year’s win total. A 5-7 season is in store for the Cardinals.