FanPost

Louisville Football Practice Report: Day Two

A few observations from the second open practice (Mike's report from day one is here):

  • I think the biggest story from the first practice was the fact that Keith Brown was practicing with the first team at Middle Linebacker. I didn't see Keith line up in the middle in any drill Saturday, but he consistently lined up at the Strongside Linebacker spot. Keith played very well and didn't need a lot of individual instruction from what I saw.
  • Preston Brown and Hakeem Smith are both ready to take on the leadership role left by Dexter Heyman. Neither of these guys are big talkers but neither was Dex. Instead, they practice hard and never make mistakes. They lead by example on and off the field and that will go a long way with a young team.
  • I got a way to close view of Mario when he lost a shoe in an inside run drill. He looks really good at his lower weight. Mike Romano seems to be keeping a slender frame also. The line as a whole looks to be in really good shape. Not a lot of flabby guys.
  • Vance Bedford is a different type of scary than Charlie Strong is, but he's scary. Kind of a Joe Pesci kind of vibe compared to Charlie. Watching him get on Lorenzo Mauldin for hitting the wrong gap on a blitz started off my day perfectly. Also, one of the cool things about this situation is that Brian Jean-Mary pointed it out to Bedford. Not a huge deal, but nice to see a coach point out a detail that another coach missed.
  • A lot of young guys made mistakes and Devontre Parnell was the main offender. He looked completely lost in my opinion. I know it's one of the first practices that the freshmen have had but they have been watching film for at least a month and some of his mistakes were pretty bad. He drew the negative attention of pretty much every defensive coach and Sir Charlie when he ran with a receiver instead of playing zone in 7 on 7. The pass was completed in the flat and he compounded his mistake by not making the "tackle". Brandon Radcliff had a bad fumble that he didn't attempt to recover. That led Kenny Carter to show off his solid "sprinting while shouting obscene amounts of curse words" skills. Nick Dawson didn't make a ton of mistakes but the difference in the amount of individual instruction he was getting compared to Brown and James Burgess was very noticeable.
  • Charles Gaines is faster than you.
  • Damian Copeland was the talk of day one and he continued to run with the first group on Saturday. Receivers were shuttled in and out but he lined up opposite DeVante Parker at the beginning of drills. The depth at receiver has been noted by everyone but it's impossible to not talk about it. Shawn Watson loves using two Tight Ends but I can't imagine him not exploring spreading the field more this year.
  • Getting a up close and detailed view of Bedford going over blitz schemes in the 3-3-5 was pretty amazing. It looks like absolute chaos during games but there is much more detail than I thought with some of the blitzes. Obviously guys aren't just running around but seeing how motion changes the defense was really cool. Also, it seems like they have a hybrid DE/LB spot in that formation now. Deiontrez Mount, George Durant, and B.J. Butler took the majority of the snaps and they shifted between lining up close to the line and back at linebacker depth. They were always standing but i would imagine that there are situations where they can shift into a traditional nickel formation.
  • Matt Milton will command respect when he steps onto the field next year. He did much better running slants and shorter routes than I expected. However, I think he will still play more of a Andrell Smith role as deep threat because of his size.
  • Gerrod Holliman finally got to get out on the practice field as a Cardinal. He didn't do anything to stand out but he has filled out his frame and looked comfortable when coach Bedford was installing plays. Barring injury Smith and Calvin Pryor will be your starters and Holliman will be in the running to get on the field in different situations.
  • Michaelee Harris participated in non-contact drills and really went after it. He didn't shy away from diving for passes which is a really good sign in my opinion. Charles Gaines dropped all four passes that I saw thrown to him in drills and 7 on 7, I'm sure he'll get tired of doing (I believe) 20 push ups soon.
  • I think our defense will force more turnovers this year. I understand that it's a practice in shorts but everyone looked more comfortable. Guys were stepping in front of passes and our defensive line really will be quicker on the edge than we were with Scruggs and Savoy. I also think that having 10 guys that understand Bedfords scheme will be a much bigger factor than any of us realize. We had a lot of guys doing things for the first time in the middle of the season last year. Keith Brown should be the only guy on September 2nd that will have think about what they are supposed to do when the play is called.
  • It looks like John Wallace will be the kicker this year. Ryan Johnson is said to be a little inconsistent with his punts and Josh Appleby is battling for both spots. The good news is that all three guys are kicking the ball well. It's weird to say that we have depth here but Andrew Fletcher transferring to Ole Miss is a sign that these guys are pretty good.
  • One thing that I think we should all be happy about is how passionate this coaching staff is. They really expect great effort from these guys and I think they did a great job when Charlie took over with instilling good practice habits. The drills are super competitive, practices are fluid from start to finish, and everyone is coached like they are starters. These guys earn every dollar of their salary and they expect the players to earn the right to wear the jersey. Keeping this staff around is a huge factor in the future success of this program.
  • I got to the field early because I didn't want to get stuck in the back of the crowd like I did in the spring. By 10:45 it looked like there were already more people there than spring practice. The crowd was amazing and it was really good to hear how excited people were for the season. No one that I talked to brought up the Big East or recruiting. Just this team and the guys we have right now. This is one of the most important seasons in this programs history but lets not lose sight of the fact that it should be one of the most entertaining also.
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