ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Louisville Cardinals

Teddy Bridgewater Has Emerged as a True Star for Louisville, and a Heisman Hopeful This Fall

Teddy Bridgewater Has Emerged as a True Star for Louisville, and a Heisman Hopeful This Fall

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Louisville Cardinals

Spring Practice Start Date: March 20

Spring Game Date: April 13

The big news for the Cardinals so far this offseason? Head coach Charlie Strong opted to return to the team despite SEC overtures, and they will opt to sell $1 beers during April’s spring football game. But to focus on those items is to miss the bigger point of what’s going on at Louisville. U of L has become one of the most profitable athletic departments in the country, and sees its institutional stature growing by the second. It’s why they received an invite to the ACC back in November, and why the Cardinals’ huge upset of Florida in the Sugar Bowl meant so much to the league. And it’s why now, after a breakout sophomore season, QB Teddy Bridgewater looks poised for a run at a top-five ranking and a Heisman campaign. Even with all that hype though, there’s still plenty to do this spring.

While Bridgewater’s hold on his job and the Louisville playbook are both about as strong as they come, the rest of the play-making positions on offense are not nearly as solid. At running back, both proven options — Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright — will not be present for spring practice. The offense isn’t slated to move on without them, but at the same time, things can’t just wait for them either. Dominique Brown and Corvin Lamb will take on the majority of the carries, and if things remain unsettled with the more veteran backs come July, there could be a shake-up in the backfield. In terms of receivers, it’s clear which players will be lining up as starters, but Bridgewater may take spring to really figure out who his primary target(s) is/are. DeVante Parker, Damian Copeland and Eli Rogers all figure into the plans, but it’s anyone’s guess who leads the pack (though my money’s on Parker).

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ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 11

Can Virginia Tech Hope to Slow Down Florida State’s Offense Tonight, or Its Defense Either, For That Matter?

Unless you’re one of the other teams still in the Coastal division race, any ACC fan should be rooting for Miami the rest of the way. And yet, as we discussed earlier on the site, the Hurricanes may very well be staying home anyway. Beyond the Coastal, however, it’s now of the utmost importance that the best teams simply keep winning. The conference has obviously taken a lot of body blows throughout this season. The last thing we need is to lose our chances at two BCS bids, and/or send a 6-6 team to the ACC Championship Game. Of course, things are never all that predictable in this league, now are they?

Game of the Week

Florida State Seminoles (8-1) (5-1) at Virginia Tech Hokies (4-5) (2-3): FSU has a huge opportunity here, not only to put themselves on the cusp of winning the Atlantic division, but also to bury the Hokies’ season. Based on how things have been going for both squads, it appears likely we’ll see a Seminoles win. Florida State has held three different FBS opponents (all in-conference) to seven points or less, while also only allowing 20 points or more twice (both wins). Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, they haven’t scored more than 17 points since mid-October and the offense has only managed about 25 points per contest in eight games against FBS competition (three wins, five losses). And then there’s that offensive line. As feared in preseason, they’ve struggled, and actually, may be getting worse as the year wears on. There’s little hope they’ll be able to hold off Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine for very long, creating yet another frustrating Thursday night for Logan Thomas. Prediction: Florida State 36, Virginia Tech 20

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-5) at Connecticut Huskies (3-6): Both teams are playing for their postseason lives this Friday, so don’t read too much into the Huskies’ recent four-game losing streak. UConn is well aware of what’s at stake, and will be performing accordingly. What Pitt needs to do to combat this is simply bury last week’s disappointment, and finish the job this time around. Against Notre Dame, the Panthers played well above their level, but ultimately fell short. What could frighten Pitt fans about this matchup, however, is the letdown potential. Pitt is notorious for playing down to opponents, and UConn could certainly qualify. While the Husky defense has performed impressively for the most part (18.6 points per game), they’ve also only scored 16.6 per game (120th in FBS). As always, the game plan for Pittsburgh is to just run the ball effectively and make opponents commit their own mistakes. Prediction: Pitt 27, UConn 17

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