Louisville football: 3 takeaways from the loss to Boston College

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 09: Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 09: Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Louisville football
Louisville’s Chandler Jones celebrates after intercepting Virginia’s Bryce Perkins pass on Oct. 26, 2019.Louisville Virginia 03 /

The defense was a disappointment

I have to admit that I was expecting a whole lot more from this defense after a shutout last week where they finally looked to have taken the next step (albeit against a bad Syracuse offense).

They did not. Instead, they regressed to some regularly scheduled bad habits they had early in the season as well as lapses in coverage.

I will say, Louisville was missing their top two nose tackles in Jared Goldwire and Dezmond Tell on the day. That was a huge blow for the Cardinals who were facing a Boston College team who had been a mediocre rushing team coming into the game.

The Eagles ended up with 188 yards rushing on 5.1 yards per carry. This was a group that was averaging just 3.1 yards per rush coming into the game.

This allowed Boston College to be multi-dimensional all night and it hurt Louisville badly.

While the run defense is understandable, the pass defense was just abysmal in ways it was early in the season where there were coverage busts across the board.

Specifically, defensive coordinator Bryan Brown decided to put pass rushers Yasir Abdullah and Nick Okeke into zone drops on multiple occasions. When Boston College’s quarterbacks saw that, they attacked.

Yes, quarterbacks is plural because regular BC starter Phil Jurkovec left the game with an apparent knee injury in the second half so Dennis Grosel entered in his absence and was quite good.

Abdullah and Okeke are not coverage players. The quarterbacks were throwing right over their heads in zone coverage as they looked understandably lost out there.

I thought that was a coaching issue in this game.

Safeties Russ Yeast and Isaiah Hayes had bad games. Both of them were victimized on multiple passes in coverage.

Worst of all, there were a lot of mental mistakes in coverage again by linebackers and safeties alike. Senior linebacker Dorian Etheridge rushed the quarterback in the second half instead of staying disciplined in his zone. That mistake left a running back wide open in the middle of the field for a huge gain.

Once again, tackling was also a concern especially early on. Jurkovec was picking up yards in chunks on quarterback sneaks of all things.

I thought Yaya Diaby, C.J. Avery, Kei’Trel Clark, and Marlon Character had fine games on the defensive side off the first watch. Other than that, there really was not much to speak of in positive terms.

It’s just disappointing for a team to give up 435 yards of offense in the ways that they did. It never felt like the Cardinals made Boston College earn it on offense.

Eagles receiver Zay Flowers found himself running free multiple times. We mentioned in the preview that he was going to have to be taken out of the game however they could. They did a terrible job of that.

Tight end Hunter Long was mostly a non-factor. But, he didn’t need to be with Flowers getting loose for much of the day.

Flowers finished with seven receptions for 87 yards.