2005 Football: Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Louisville

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Virginia Tech returns to the scene of the crime � Jacksonville, Florida �
to take on the Louisville Cardinals in the Gator Bowl. Jacksonville has not been
kind to the Hokies, who are 1-3 in previous Gator Bowl appearances and now 0-1
in the ACC Championship Game (though in reality Tech is 1-1 in the ACC
Championship Game since the Miami game in 2004 was for the championship). I
remember in 1994 that Tech fans were overjoyed to be playing Tennessee in the
Gator Bowl, but this year fans seem disappointed that the Hokies have to �settle�
for the second-place bowl game. That statement alone tells you how far the
Virginia Tech program has come in the last dozen years.

In reviewing several Louisville games from this year, I noticed that the
Cardinals reminded me a great deal of another team that I watched a lot this
year � yep, the Virginia Tech Hokies. The offensive and defensive schemes of
Louisville appear to be very similar to Virginia Tech, so the game plans devised
by the coaches for this game should be quite interesting. Of course, differences
in talent at various positions will change the focus of each team, but overall
these two teams mirror each other a great deal.

Injuries will be a factor in this game as Louisville has had two key players
go down late in the season. Blue-chip quarterback Brian Brohm (#12, 6-3 224,
4.77, So.) (Note that I am now including 40 times derived from initial NFL draft
reports) suffered a knee injury in the next-to-last game against Syracuse. Brohm
likely would have been the best quarterback that Tech had faced this year. He
has been replaced by redshirt-freshman Hunter Cantwell (#14, 6-4 230, 4.78,
r-Fr.) who showed a great deal of poise in the Connecticut game. Obviously, the
offensive game plan for Louisville will need to be simplified with Cantwell
starting. Louisville ran the ball 51 times against Connecticut and the Cardinals
will surely try to establish the run against Tech as well.

Much like Virginia Tech, Louisville will try to run the ball behind a
physical offensive line. The Cardinals have a huge tailback in Michael