No. 23 Louisville aims to avoid another letdown

Associated Press Modified: September 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm •  Published: September 7, 2012
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Rewarding as Sunday's season-opening victory was for No. 23 Louisville, the Cardinals didn't celebrate for long.

A short work week leading up to Saturday's game against Missouri State helped the Cardinals focus on the task at hand — a strong follow-up. Especially after last season, when wins against Murray State, Kentucky and West Virginia were followed by letdowns against FIU, Marshall and Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals certainly aren't looking past the Bears, who trailed No. 21 Kansas State 16-9 after three quarters last week before the Wildcats scored 35 points in the fourth. With North Carolina visiting Louisville next week and several areas of concern, Louisville is mindful of how a team such as Missouri State can quickly expose some blemishes.

"We're not going to be complacent," running back Senorise Perry said. "We're just going to stay humble and keep working one game at a time."

Offensively, Louisville believes the 466-yard output in its' 32-14 victory against Kentucky is just a baseline. While the Cardinals don't expect quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to duplicate his near-perfect season debut of 19-for-21 passing for 232 yards in three quarters of action — one of his two incompletions was an out-of-bounds throwaway — he's clearly more comfortable with the West Coast offense.

He completed passes to 11 different receivers on Sunday, finding them in traffic and sometimes while throwing off-balance. Bridgewater's first completion, a third-down pass to a diving Damian Copeland for 23 yards from the 2, also showed his poise.

The trick might be getting the sophomore to slow down his execution of the fast-paced offense. While Bridgewater often kept Kentucky guessing, his quick cadence threw off his offensive line as well.

"We need to be more efficient, more poised in our no-huddle," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "There are times we miss things. We only had one missed assignment, which was good.

"But I thought Teddy played too fast, he ran through his progressions a little too fast and that's the pace of the game, he's thinking about the next play. That's one big thing, not only for him but for the team."

One priority against Football Championship Series-level Missouri State will be developing depth, particularly behind Bridgewater. That might sound strange considering the presence of senior and former starter Will Stein, but the coaching staff wants him to be sharper than he was after relieving Bridgewater for the fourth quarter.