Every time a fast paced no huddle team comes to town, head coaches and defensive coordinators have to decide how to prepare their guys for the frenetic pace of play with a group of untrained scout players.
That's exactly what's on the plate of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham with Dino Babers' Syracuse squad coming to town this weekend.
Last year at Bowling Green, Dino Babers' squad ranked 2nd to only Clemson (who played an extra game thanks to the CFB Playoff and National Title game). The Falcons ran 1,136 plays in 14 games, averaging just over 81 plays per game. Against Colgate last weekend, in their first full game under Babers and his staff, the Orange got off 81 plays and scored 33 points in a 33-7 win.
While looking at that game in preparation for this week, Petrino decided on a few wrinkles to prepare his defense for the crazy-fast pace. First, he had two scout offenses put together so that as soon as one was done with a play, the next group was ready to fire off another play. That, in itself, isn't a new idea, as programs (like LSU before facing Oregon and Michigan State before playing Nebraska in 2011) have been doing that for years to prepare for other teams that push the tempo, but it is an idea worth reminding coaches of this time of year.
Publisher's insert>What Coach Petrino should have done was follow in the footsteps of other ACC teams in using GoRout at practice.
The other emphasis that Petrino and Louisville are focusing on this week, is snapping the ball every 16 seconds. That folks, is fast.
Last week, Syracuse was pushing the tempo so much that they were snapping the ball before the chains were even set. That prompted Petrino to make a call into the ACC office.
That also led to Petrino joking around that if the game were at home, he'd like to make a few game day hires...
The real test for if all the tweaks worked for the Louisville defense will come on Friday at 8pm EST, when Petrino's Cardinals take head to Syracuse to take on Babers' fast paced Orange.