Surprisingly, there’s still a ton of pre-game chirping coming from inside Louisville’s locker room heading into Saturday’s season-opening showdown vs. top-ranked Alabama in Orlando.
Senior offensive lineman Lukayus McNeil on Tuesday said the Cardinals could have their way with Alabama’s front seven, widely-considered one of college football’s most talented.
“I understand that they got a good, deep front,” McNeil said, according to the Courier-Journal. “But we got a great O-line. So if we can dominate up front, then we’re not worried about the defensive front at all. I definitely think we’re capable of going out, starting off fast and dominating their D-line.”
McNeil’s confidence echoes previous statements made by wideout Dez Fitzpatrick who said Louisville has a considerable talent edge over Alabama’s new-look secondary, a unit replacing every starter from last season’s group.
“Every receiver in our receiving corps can honestly beat every one of their DBs in one-on-one coverage, so it ties into the other stuff,” Fitzpatrick said, via CBS Louisville reporter Dan Koob. “If the blocks are right, if the quarterback’s drop is right, if we ran a 10-yard route instead of an eight-yard route, that’s the kind of stuff I feel like we need to sharpen up, but I feel like just straight talent wise, I feel like we have the upper edge against the secondary, 1000 percent.”
Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino was complimentary of the Crimson Tide in his pre-game press conference this week, but he jazzed up Louisville’s fanbase earlier this month at a donor function when he announced his team would upset the defending national champions.
This isn’t too far from Petrino’s words earlier this summer at ACC Media Days when he said the Cardinals are confident in their abilities as a team.
“But the number one thing we have to do is believe that we can go down there and beat them so that when you truly believe in something, then you go out and play your best, play to your best of your ability, and that’s what’s important for us,” Petrino said. “If there’s any disbelief at all, usually you underachieve, and that’s the main thing we can’t do. We need to go play our best game to give us an opportunity to win.”
Alabama is a 25.5-point favorite over a Cardinals team replacing former Heisman winner and first-round pick Lamar Jackson at quarterback. After watching film and putting together a gameplan, Nick Saban says Louisville will be tough to stop defensively.
“Their top skill guys at receiver are all back. Their offensive line is back pretty much intact. So, this is going to be a really challenging game for our defense,” Saban said Tuesday. “This is an offense that hung 60 points on Florida State at one time and went into Clemson and scored 40 points or whatever. So, you know, this is a very, very challenging team when it comes to offense and our preparation that we need to have on defense.”
The offensive line may be good, but there is one key element missing in Bobby Petrino’s 2018 Louisville team. Lamar Jackson. There is no way Jawon Pass will be the next Jackson. Alabama is a 25 point favorite against the Cardinals. They have two starting QBs with Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Alabama has a new defense but the Crimson Tide are something else. There is no way the Bama defense is dominated. We will find out Saturday. Let the pre-game chirping begin!
On this thought Illinois for National Champs.