Sept. 11, 2012
Teddy ~nbsp>Bridgewater | Mario ~nbsp>Benavides
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - About this time last year, University of Louisville sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was about to make his second career start at the Division I level when the Cardinals faced North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
The Cardinals were also breaking in a new offensive coordinator after making a change early in the season. Louisville took to the road and struggled to get its offense going in a 14-7 loss to the Tar Heels.
The Cardinals could only manage 273 yards and didn't find the end zone until Bridgewater hit Dominique Brown with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 42 seconds remaining.
However, this year is a different season for North Carolina with an entirely new coaching staff as Larry Fedora enters his first year as head coach of the Tar Heels, so the Cardinals are looking at film to see where they can gain an advantage in this match-up.
"They have a new coaching staff over there," said Bridgewater. "They are coming with a different defensive strategy. That's one thing we want to look into is what more film from where the defensive coordinator came from last year and gain an edge on them."
Strong is very familiar with the North Carolina staff after having coached at Florida with Fedora and defensive coordinator Dan Disch.
"Dan Disch, their defensive coordinator, was also with me at the University of Florida and does a great job," said Strong. "They are very aggressive on defense and very solid in the kicking game, so this will be a great test for our program. I think this weekend we will find out exactly who we are as a football program and find out what steps we need to continue to make to continue this program in the right direction."
The Tar Heels are 1-1 after a 28-27 loss at Wake Forest last week, but are always one of the more athletic teams in the country. The Tar Heels had a first round pick on the defensive line in Quinton Coples and a second-rounder in linebacker Zach Brown.
This year, the Tar Heels have Sylvester Williams, a 305-pounder, and linebacker Kevin Reddick, both of whom are considered solid players on their defense.
"People seem to think we look at size and all that stuff a lot," said senior center Mario Benavides. "I really don't. I have always been an undersized guy my whole career. I don't put a lot of stock in how big someone is. I really just watch the film, and to me, it's more important how big they play as opposed to big they are. Some guys play heavy. Some guys play hard off the ball. Some guys run around and are more technique kind of guys. But, from what I understand, they are pretty big, and that's how traditionally North Carolina defensive linemen have been over the last 5-10 years."
The Cardinals offense has been clicking on all cylinders in the first two games, averaging 470 yards of total offense. Bridgewater is off to a fast start, completing 81.7 percent of his throws and is averaging 288 yards through the air.
With that said, the 19th-ranked Cardinals seemingly have the arsenal to avenge last season's loss move their record to 3-0 for the first time since 2006.