2019 Louisville Football Season Preview
A terrible 2018 season led to massive changes and a new coaching staff. Will it help the team compete in a very competitive ACC?
2018 Record: 2-10 overall, 0-8 in ACC
Head Coach: Scott Satterfield, 1st year
There were not many positives for the Cardinals last season–they struggled replacing Lamar Jackson and the offensive line was terrible.
There are two players vying for the starting QB job this year (and it just so happens to be the guy’s who struggled to replace Jackson last season)–Jawon Pass and Malik Cunningham. Pass threw more interceptions (12) than touchdowns (8) while completing 54 percent of his passes. Cunningham only threw 67 balls last year, but led the team in rushing with 497 yards and five scores–if he loses the starting QB job in camp, he’ll still be getting the ball in his hands, he’s too dangerous not to.
The running game was obviously rough last year when your quarterback leads the team and still fails to hit 500 yards, but most of the problem was up front. Sophomore Hassan Hall was the best back with 303 yards and three scores, and UL also has Colin Wilson who at 231-pounds brings the power–he accumulated 208 yards and one score.
Wide receiver is the strongest group even with the team losing Jaylen Smith–The duo of Dei Fitzpatrick and Cheatarius Atwell will be fantastic if the quarterback play is stronger, and there’s decent depth to fill in the gaps. Length is their strong-suit as 6’6 Devante Peete and 6’3 Seth Dawkins fill in behind Fitzpatrick and Atwell.
Despite returning three starters, the pressure for offensive success will fall onto the offensive line. The team does have a future NFL tackle in Mekhi Becton, but if they aren’t improved as a whole, this team will struggle mightily again.
Whenever your defense gives up 484 yards and 44 points per game, you will not be winning many games–hence the 2-10 finish for this club in 2018. UL gave up a pitiful 277 yards rushing per contest and completely gave up towards the end of the season allowing 52 points or more in six of the last seven games.
But somehow there is room for optimism–the team returns nine of the top 11 tacklers and are littered with upperclassmen.
The pass rush consists of potential NFL prospects Jarrett Jackson, Tabarius Peterson, and Amonte Caban–now they need to produce on the field.
The linebackers and secondary are average at best and will need to play better than they did last year to have any hope of slowing down the ACC offenses.
Everything fell apart last season and it’s hard to predict it go that bad again in 2019–think about it–this team was 127th in the nation in sacks allowed, and 122nd in tackles for loss allowed. Plain and simple the offense could not get anything going. Then there was the defense that could not stop the run allowing 200+ yards eight times last season and they were dead last in college football in third down defense, allowing teams to convert 52% of their tries. Add it all up and it’s a miserable year.
If they improve in any of those areas, they should win more than two games.