Louisville Cardinals Offensive Scouting Report
Louisville Cardinals Offense: Scheme - Prostyle
RB Jawhar Jordan
WR Jamari Thrash
Louisville runs a prostyle offense that features formations from shotgun and under center. For the most part, they use 3 wide receiver, 1 tight end, and 1 running back sets. They will sometimes bring another running back in or a TE into the backfield to act as a fullback on some running plays. Their running game is predicated mostly on zone or split zone schemes. A split zone is characterized by having a tight end line up offset from the left or right tackle, and they come across to block the defensive end on the opposite side, or continue on a passing route. They typically run run-pass options with this look giving quarterback, Jack Plummer, an option to pull and throw to the tight end. This team loves to run the football. They have a good compliment of running backs with the lead Jawhar Jordan, power back, Isaac Guerendo, and change-up back, Maurice Turner. Turner ran well against Pitt when Jordan went down. But, for most of the season, the offense has gone through Jordan. he rushed for 143 yards and 2 TDs in Louisville's upset over Notre Dame, and he ran for 163 yards and 2 TDs in Louisville's convincing victory against Duke last weekend. So, Virginia Tech's top priority will be defending the run on Saturday.
Louisville, much like Syracuse, is heavily reliant on staying out of 3rd and long situations. Jack Plummer does not have the best arm and he has shown a tendency to turn the ball over. He has thrown 8 interceptions so far this season. The Louisville wide receivers are not the scariest bunch. They do have a good primary target in Jamari Thrash. He is far and away their best receiver. This will enable the Tech secondary to focus on Thrash to take away Plummer's favorite target and make the Cardinals beat them left handed. Jack Plummer is also not very mobile. This is good news for a Virginia Tech front that has had great success getting after the QB as of late. Louisville has struggled against the blitz this season. The only team to beat Louisville, Pitt, brought extra pressure consistently. This served to both stop the run and pressure Plummer. I would expect the Hokies to do the same.
Louisville plays their best ball with a lead. Being a run first team, the Cardinals are more comfortable when they do not have to drop back and throw 30 times a game. They are a very traditional style, solid football team. They run the ball well, and they play good defense. Against a team like this, you must take them out of their comfort zone and force them to chase the game. Bringing blitzes will help stop the run and force Plummer to make bad decisions. I think Virginia Tech should feel comfortable bringing extra pressure because the Hokie secondary has been very good, and Louisville's pass attack is not frightening. Forcing a turnover or 2 can help Virginia Tech build a lead and put the pressure on Louisville to throw more. Tech's measure of success this week should be how many times Plummer drops back to throw. If he throws 30 or more times, Virginia Tech will likely have a great chance to win. The key, as always, will be pressure.
All stats via ESPN.com