The Louisville Cardinals have not been talking out of turn, Bobby Petrino insists. They’ve just been taken out of context.
A few comments out of Louisville have made minor headlines leading up to Saturday’s season opener against No. 1 Alabama in Orlando. The Cardinals haven’t come across as either daunted or deferential to the defending national champions.
“Every receiver in our receiving corps can honestly beat every one of their DBs in one-on-one coverage,” receiver Dez Fitzpatrick said recently, “so it ties into the other stuff – if the blocks are right, if the quarterback’s drop is right, if we ran an 8-yard route instead of a 10-yard route – that the kind of stuff I feel like we just need to sharpen up.
“Straight talent-wise, I feel like we have the upper edge against secondary, 1,000 percent.”
This week came the words of center Lukayus McNeil, also about the Crimson Tide’s defense.
“I understand they have a good D front, but we’ve got a great O-line,” he said. “So if we can dominate up front, then we’re not worried about that defensive line.”
Given a chance to clarify his comments, McNeil didn’t back down: he doubled down.
“I definitely think we’re capable of starting fast and dominating that defensive line,” he said.
Petrino, Louisville’s coach, was a little brash in his own assessment of the game at a kickoff luncheon a couple of weeks ago.
“If we can get where we have every single guy on our team, every single coach on our team, to believe like I believe — because I believe we’re gonna go beat ’em — so I need everybody else to believe that. And we will go beat ’em,” he told an audience of Cardinals supporters.
Asked about that air of confidence earlier this week, Petrino wanted to make sure the context of some of those comments was understood.
“My mom used to tell me all the time, don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see,” Petrino said. “Obviously, our players have said a few things where only parts of what they said were taken and used as a quote. Our offensive lineman said we’re capable of doing these things.”
Petrino also noted his respect for Alabama.
“We know we’re playing a great football team,” the coach said. “We know how well-coached they are. We do need to go in there and compete and believe we have an opportunity to win and play that way to have that type of confidence.”
Reach Tommy Deas at email@example.com or at 205-722-0224.