Shawn Watson has big problems, but it's doubtful that anyone is going to feel sorry for him. While still trying to fine-tune his offense for the opener against Ohio, the thing that keeps Watson up all night with a smile on his face is how he is going to split rushes and receptions.
The first thing the offensive coordinator will deal with is how to handle the log jam in the backfield with four capable running backs looking for touches.
Head coach Charlie Strong said at his Monday news conference that senior Senorise Perry deserves to take the first snap in the offensive backfield, but Watson reiterated that he will use a committee.
"Senorise walks out there first," Watson said. "Then you are going to see Dominique (Brown) and Michael (Dyer). It's going to be a tailback by committee, because that's what we have at running back."
Watson is going to have his hands full establishing a go-to-back because he has so many at his disposal, but his challenge is going to be how to distribute ball effectively.
"It's a game-by-game situation," Watson said. "It's about who gets the hot hand and who is in rhythm. The tailback has to get a chance to get in rhythm. We will play it by the rhythm of the game. It always works itself out."
Coaches are always looking to improve, and Watson is no different. The second-year offensive coordinator enters the 2013 season looking to improve offensively, but it's hard to improve on 418 yards of total offense per game and over 31 points. While he doesn't have specific goals for the season or each game, his focus is to get the ball to the right people who can make plays.
"I gear our offense more at attacking the defense and running our style of offense, which is to be very multiple," Watson said. "I want to use all of our targets and all of our people. I'm more concerned with creating touches for the people who can make a difference in the game."
While Watson tries to work out his problems of trying to get the right people the football, he has a bigger problem in facing a good Ohio team that went 9-4 and won a bowl game.
"I have familiarity with these guys because they have Nebraska backgrounds," Watson, a former offensive coordinator at Nebraska before joining the Louisville staff in 2011, said. "I see a lot of similar styles in what Bo Pelini is doing at Nebraska. I know it and I have great respect for what Frank Solich is doing there at Ohio. I have faced him a lot in my career at Colorado. I know he is an excellent coach. He finds ways to win football games."
The Cardinals are just five days away from the opener against Solich's Ohio squad, and Watson is still trying to clean some things up on the offensive side of the football before the 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We aren't playing perfect ball and that is always my edge," Watson said. "I'm the thump out there so they are going to feel me in practice. I want it to be perfect. . The effort is outstanding. We are well-assigned. The technique is what we have to clean up. We need to take care of the details."
The Cardinals will have to be on top of their game and pay attention to all the details if they want to get off to a fast start offensively and in the win column.