NCF Nation: Byron Stingily

ESPN.com's All-Big East team

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
10:30
AM ET
Welcome to the ESPN.com 2010 All-Big East team. Unlike the official league team, we don't do ties here. One man, one spot.

I compiled the following list after watching each team the entire season and through consultation this week with some coaches throughout the league. Later on today, I'll offer up some thoughts on the selections, explaining my picks and the toughest omissions.

Here is the team:

Offense

QB: Geno Smith, West Virginia
RB: Jordan Todman, Connecticut
RB: Bilal Powell, Louisville
WR: Armon Binns, Cincinnati
WR: Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh
TE: Cameron Graham, Louisville
OT: Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh
OG: Zach Hurd, Connecticut
C: Sampson Genus, South Florida
OG: Mark Wetterer, Louisville
OT: Byron Stingily, Louisville

Defense

DE: Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh
DT: Chris Neild, West Virginia
DT: Terrell McClain, South Florida
DE: Julian Miller, West Virginia
LB: Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut
LB: Derrell Smith, Syracuse
LB: J.T. Thomas, West Virginia
CB: Brandon Hogan, West Virginia
CB: Johnny Patrick, Louisville
S: Robert Sands, West Virginia
S: Sidney Glover, West Virginia

Specialists

K: Dave Teggart, Connecticut
P: Dan Hutchins, Pittsburgh
KR: Lindsey Lamar, South Florida
PR: Doug Beaumont, Louisville

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett


Steve Kragthorpe very nearly broke out the old Herm Edwards quote this week when talking about the struggles of his Louisville football team.

"You play this game to win," Kragthorpe said.

Except that hasn't been the case for the Cardinals (1-3, 0-1 Big East), who last beat an FBS opponent on Oct. 25, 2008. That's a string of eight straight defeats, five of them by double digits.
 
 Andy Lyons/Getty Images
 Victor Anderson is expected to get more touches Saturday against Southern Mississippi.


While Kragthorpe and his players continue to say that they're just a few plays away or that they've beaten themselves with mistakes, a losing streak like that comes down to more than just a couple of bad breaks. So expect to see some changes this Saturday when Louisville plays host to Southern Mississippi.

For starters, Kragthorpe is promising to get Victor Anderson more touches. Makes perfect sense, since Anderson -- the Big East's newcomer of the year last season after rushing for more than 1,000 yards as a redshirt freshman -- is the team's best player. Yet after carrying 19 times for 110 yards at Kentucky, Anderson got only 10 carries for 22 yards at Utah and ran it just 12 times for 51 yards last week against Pitt.

Anderson was dealing with a groin injury and some other bumps and bruises last week, Kragthorpe said. But he should be healthier now, and he needs to be a major part of the game plan.

Of course, Anderson can only do so much when the offensive line is not opening holes.

When asked to name which players were performing well up front, Kragthorpe could only point to center Mario Benavides and right guard Mark Wetterer. Junior Jeff Adams, who started at right tackle last year, could supplant left tackle Byron Stingily this week. Adams was slated to start there in the preseason, but he had a bout with the flu that caused him to lose almost 20 pounds in fall camp. Massive junior college transfer Joe Evinger (6-foot-6, 330 pounds) arrived late in fall camp but is now sufficiently up to speed to where he could start seeing some significant time as well, Kragthorpe said.

Another problem area for the Cardinals has been the secondary, which was burned by long touchdown passes against Pitt. Safety Terrence Simien's kidney injury forced some shuffling around, and Chaz Thompson moved over from safety to start at cornerback for the first time in his career last week. Kragthorpe said he would look at some other options back there, including pulling the redshirt off true freshman Shenard Holton.

Louisville is the most penalized team in the Big East and seems to find the absolute wrong time in each drive to draw a flag. Kragthorpe said he planned to tape his offensive linemen's wrists this week to prevent them from getting their hands outside a defender's body. And others who committed penalties last week had to run as punishment.

It remains to be seen whether any of these changes are more than cosmetic against a Southern Miss team that has some issues of its own. The Golden Eagles lost starting quarterback Austin Davis to a season-ending injury last week in a loss to UAB. Junior Martevious Young will start in his place. They will get back running back Damion Fletcher and receiver DeAndre Brown from injuries this week.

The Cardinals left old rival Southern Miss and Conference USA behind when they moved to the Big East; losing to the Golden Eagles at home would be yet another black mark for a program that's gathered too many of them lately. With two Big East away games up next and road trips still left to West Virginia and South Florida, Louisville can't afford any more slip-ups.

"A win would sure lighten the mood up," Benavides said. "Nobody likes losing."

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