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Louisville to Take Advantage of Midseason Bye Week

Sitting at .500 halfway through the season and on a two-game losing streak, the Cardinals plan to take full advantage of their bye week.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It has been a rough two-week stretch for the Louisville football program. Heading into their matchup at Wake Forest, the Cardinals were riding an early three-game win streak, and instability around the league presented a very real opportunity to get in the Atlantic Division's driver's seat.

Two weeks later, all the momentum that Louisville had built came to a screeching halt.

A myriad of missed opportunities saw that win streak snapped against the Demon Deacons, then that was followed up by a complete fourth quarter meltdown at home against Virginia.

Louisville could have, conceivably, reached the halfway point of the season sitting pretty in the division race at 5-1. Instead, they had their hearts ripped out in back-to-back losses in the final minute, and now sit at .500 for the year.

"These games are crazy, coming down to the end like they are," head coach Scott Satterfield said. "You have to find a way to make one more play, and that's what it was tonight. It’s very similar to last week.

“We just have to get better. We got to continue to grow as a football team and find ways to make one more one or two more plays."

There were already several questions surrounding the program heading into the season. Many of them have been answered, but a multitude of others have emerged in their place - ones that range from all the way from situational coaching ability, to a perceived lack of killer instinct, and others.

Following the loss to the Cavaliers, Louisville now heads into their bye week. On one hand, that gives players, coaches and fans an extra week of time to stew over a loss that left an atrocious taste in their mouths.

On the other, that gives them an extra week of time to rebound and attempt to right the ship. So what can the Cardinals do to accomplish that?

First, it starts with getting players healthy. Louisville has already lost inside linebacker Monty Montgomery and wide receiver Braden Smith for the season due to injuries, but several others are banged up as well.

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Defensive end Ashton Gillotte, Louisville's second-best pass rusher, was limited against Virginia. Starting right tackle Renato Brown was eligible, but did not play. Tight end Marshon Ford suffered a lower body injury prior to halftime, and did not return until well into the second half.

Satterfield noted that several other players were 'dinged up', and that the bye would give the team as whole some extra time to get healthy.

But, getting the overall team health back up is not the lone goal on their bye week agenda. Since they do not have an opponent to game plan for this week, they will be using that time to take a look at their body of work up to that point, and determining the best course of action moving forward.

"We're doing some good things, we got to build off of those good things and eliminate the things we're not doing well," he said. "We have Boston College coming in here in two weeks. We know we're going to get everything they have, the best shot out of those guys and we got to figure out a way to play better and to make those plays.”

If Louisville has any hope to still reach a bowl, with teams like NC State, Clemson and Kentucky still on the docket, there is a lot that needs to be addressed.

Situational offensive play calling has been suspect at times despite the overall offense putting up solid numbers, the defense is among one of the worst in the ACC, and players and coaches alike are struggling with complacency - resulting in an inability to put teams away.

The Cardinals' goal of reaching the ACC Championship might be a long-shot, but they can still have some semblance of a successful season down the stretch. It all starts with this week.

(Photo of Louisville Players - Cindy Rice Shelton)

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