Way-too-early look: Louisville Cardinals
With the football season less than 60 days from opening, we take an early look at each of the Tigers' 12 opponents for the 2019 season. Next up, Clemson's Week 7 opponent, the Louisville Cardinals.
Head coach: Gone is Bobby Petrino, who parted ways with the Cardinals following the 2018 season, and the job of resurrecting a program that went 2-10 in 2018 has fallen to Scott Satterfield.
Satterfield compiled a remarkable 51-24 record at Appalachian State, including a 38-10 conference mark in six seasons. With 34-6 in five Sun Belt seasons, that is the best record in the league during that span. Notably, Satterfield became the first coach to lead a school from the Football Championship Subdivision level to Football Bowl Subdivision and immediately earn three-consecutive bowl wins.
Prior to taking over as the head coach of the Mountaineers, Satterfield served as offensive coordinator at Florida International, passing game coordinator at Toledo and wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks coach with the Mountaineers.
Cardinals on offense: The job of coordinating the Cardinals' offense falls to 2014 and 2017 Broyles Award Nominee (given to the nation's top assistant coach) Dwayne Ledford.
A familiar face in the ACC, Ledford joined the Louisville staff after three seasons as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at N.C. State, where he helped make the Wolfpack’s offensive lines one of the best units in the ACC.
The Wolfpack had a 1,000-yard rusher in each season of Ledford’s tenure. N.C. State went from 2002-2015 without a 1,000-yard rusher, which was the longest drought in the country. In three seasons directing the offensive line, the Wolfpack saw their sacks total decrease, ranking among the top 20 in the country.
Cardinals on defense: Maybe the toughest task for the new Cardinal staff falls on defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, who takes over a defense that allowed 277.2 rushing yards per game, 211.1 passing yards per game and allowed 44.1 yards per game.
Brown orchestrated one of the top defenses in the nation in 2017. In his only season as defensive coordinator, alongside Satterfied at Appalachian State, Brown's defense ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense at 15.7 points per game, holding the opposition to 10 or fewer points in seven. Brown's defense also ranked third in the nation in passing defense, allowing 148.1 yards per game, and sixth in total defense, allowing 279.3 yards per game.
The early line: Last season, the Tigers easily handled the Cardinals by a final score of 77-16 inside the friendly confines of Death Valley. While the Cardinals can only get better from what they were last season, the pundits in Las Vegas think this will not be the season they get the best of their Atlantic Division rival.
The Tigers are currently 32-point favorites over the Cardinals.