Discipline necessary for defense in rivalry
Bryan Brown says Louisville football can’t treat one game more important than any other because players will try to do too much. The defensive coordinator wants his team to play within themselves in the annual in-state rivalry game against Kentucky Nov. 30.
Louisville’s defense faces a Kentucky offense that can be one-dimensional by design. Kentucky is averaging 262.2 rushing yards and surpassed 400 yards in the last two weeks against Vanderbilt and UT Martin.
Lynn Bowden, a wide receiver converted to quarterback, leads a rushing attack that has three ball carriers with more than 500 yards on the ground. Brown thinks Kentucky’s rushing attack starts with its offensive line.
“Even though guys are in gaps, they do a great job getting guys out of the gap,” Brown said. “I think their offensive line is one of the best we have played.”
Running behind a big offensive line, Bowden has rushed for 914 yards while running backs Asim Rose and Kavosiey Smoke have combined to run for more than 1,100 yards this season.
“They make you miss, even though you’re in the hole ready to make a tackle, they still make you miss,” Brown said.
Bowden made his first start at quarterback collegiately against Arkansas in October. The 6-foot-1 junior took direct snaps as part of Kentucky’s wildcat formation earlier in the season before becoming the full-time quarterback.
“He [Bowden] can cut on a dime, he overextends, he gets people to overrun it,” linebacker Dorian Etheridge said. “He can stop and start real quick.”
Bowden played quarterback in high school and can keep defenses honest with his passing ability. Bowden completed 8 of 10 throws against Vanderbilt for 104 yards.
Louisville secondary has to stay disciplined to prevent plays in the passing game.
“You have to be smart,” Brown said. “Stay patient, it’s just like going against a triple-option offense. The DBs have to do a good job with man coverage and stay home.”
After allowing Syracuse to rush for 261 yards last week in a game plagued by missed tackles, Louisville focused on taking better angles in practice. Brown was frustrated by the amount of missed tackles against Syracuse, but the defense goes through more film study than reps because bodies are beat up.
“Guys have to be in better football position and better angles, got to make tackles,” Brown said. “A lot of times missed tackles are because of angles.”
Louisville is allowing opponents to rush for 183.0 yards per game this season.