The Louisville Cardinals football season began yesterday with a 49-7 victory over Ohio. While it’s hard to take too many observations out of a game that end with a 42-point differential (at least ones that evaluate how good the team really is), here are some thoughts:
1. The atmosphere. Everywhere, it felt a little different. From the seats filled before the game began to the NFL scout party in the press room, it just all felt amped up. Maybe it was the 100 degree heat; maybe it was the fact that 55,302 people attended the game, the second highest attendance ever at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium; maybe it was the relief of Lorenzo Mauldin playing after being the victim of a hit-and-run while on his moped. But it all was cheery, and all was freakin’ hot. By the way, the NFL scouts that I could see were from the 49ers, Eagles, Bills, Texans and Cowboys.
2. Damian Copeland. It is Cope’s land; we’re just livin’ in it. 98 yards, two touchdowns, one honey mustard Mohawk. The senior WR looks more than ready to lead in his final year. Also, a 49ers scout on the field asked my friend Stephen and I to point him out right as he made an incredible practice catch. The scout then asked to point out “Teddy…Teddy Bridgewater?” and we then ceased the communication.
— Stephen Ossola (@StephenOssola) September 1, 2013
3. Michael Dyer. A recent addition to the team at running back, Dyer is fast. The former Auburn player didn’t start, but ran in the fifth touchdown for the Cardinals, carrying the ball 46 yards on 3rd and 1, his second carry of the game. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff delegates starting spots and playing time in general with the offense. Especially in the backfield, there is just so much good going on.
4. De La Change. I might change my hair, my last name, and my fictitious jersey number. It worked for Kai De La Cruz, formerly known as Kai Dominguez, who absolutely lit up the field with 116 yards and two touchdowns. It felt like a debuting party for the wide receiver. Head coach Charlie Strong said, “I told him at camp, ‘You had the biggest improvement of any wide receiver on this football team.’” Strong then added, “He finally just grew up.”
De La Cruz himself had this to say on his development: “It just took me awhile to get the mental aspect of it, to understand the playbook. I feel like a quarterback out there; like I know everything that’s going on.”
5. Teddy. See how he was saved for #5? Get it? Get it?
You know who else gets it? TEDDY BRIDGEWATER. And by it, we mean football. De La Cruz was asked to touch on his QB, and he said, “What makes Teddy so good is that he’s like an offensive coordinator out there. He knows everything. I say I know everything; he knows more than me, so… It’s just incredible how he’s such a great student of the game. It helps us all out.” Bridgewater finished with a career-high 97.2 total QBR by ESPN, five touchdowns, 355 yards, was 23-28, and had one intercept- oh look, someone else caught the rest of my sentence before I could say something bad about Teddy.
This was a promising start to this season that must be “full of blowouts” — Cards fans should be really excited.