CRAWFORD | Make-or-break week coming for Cards after loss to FSU - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Make-or-break week coming for Cards after loss to FSU

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The University of Louisville football team has not practiced since losing to No. 2-ranked Florida State last Thursday night.

Coaches have gone over video with players, and they've done some conditioning. Tuesday will be the first practice back for the Cardinals, and that's when coach Bobby Petrino says he expects to learn something about his team, as it begins on-field preparations for Saturday's 7:15 p.m. game at Boston College.

How his players answer will tell the story of this season for the Cardinals. They had a shot to upset Florida State, but losing to the Seminoles is an outcome many figured would happen before the season began. Bounce back strong at Boston College, and the game at Notre Dame is another opportunity to earn respect on a national stage. Remain in a hangover and fall at Boston College, and the final two games become a long, slow grind. Losing to Florida State isn't the end of the world. Lose to Boston College and it could be the start of basketball season.

“I think this is the week where we find out,” Petrino said at his regular Monday news conference. “When we go out tomorrow to practice we'll see how our attitude is and who our leaders are. You're always concerned as a coach after a game that you put so much into, and you're in it, you're competing hard and playing well and you don't come out on the right end. I think this is the week where we find out who the real leaders are, and it reveals our character as a team.”

TRANSCRIPT: Petrino previews Boston College, breaks down Florida State loss

After watching the tape of Florida State, Petrino reiterated what he said after the game, “you understand that you faced a really good team, one with more speed than any we had probably faced all year.”

The Cardinals went from No. 1 nationally in total defense to No. 7 in a single game. Their rushing defense went from No. 1 to No. 3. Their passing defense dropped to No. 32.

And all that was after a first-half in which they kept Florida State and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston largely in check.

“We came out and played really well in the first half, got turnovers, got the offense the ball in positions where we could go score,” Petrino said. “We were working well together offensively and defensively. . . . We did make some errors in communication and gave them a couple of things. And then there were a couple of plays where it looked like we were maybe going to make the play and they did. So it was a good battle. But I think we'll be okay. I think our guys will get back on the practice field and get our confidence back and play real hard.”

They'll play without defensive end Pio Vatuvei, out with an injury for a second straight week. But they'll face a different kind of challenge in Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy, a transfer from Florida who has become one of the better run-pass quarterbacks in the ACC.

Petrino said his offense continues to improve, now he wants more consistently — and it has to be better than the 1-for-11 on third down it was against Florida State.

“We had our chances on third down now,” Petrino said. “We got in some short-yardage situations. We got knocked back a little bit. They were a little bit bigger and more physical on the short yardage. We had two third downs where we end up like half a yard short. That's where you would like to have the confidence to go for it on fourth down, but in that situation where you have the lead and it's a close game, you punt the ball and try to flip the field. And our punt game really hurt us. When you look at it statistically, they really beat us in the punt game.”

Petrino said the punt game would be a priority this week in practice, and that Eli Rogers will replace James Quick as the starting punt returner.

He had no updates on other injuries the Cards sustained during the game, saying that coaches would have to wait and see how players like Lorenzo Mauldin and James Burgess come along this week.

“The great challenge for us is to come back and practice well each day and really get our energy and emotion into another battle on Saturday night,” Petrino said.

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