There are just 7 days left until the 2014 spring game. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and there are a lot of activities and events going on that day. So what's new in the world of spring football since the last update? Glad you asked.
ESPN’s ACC blogger Andrea Adelson stopped by spring practice this week and wrote a column on her observations. Here's a short preview.
1. Hustle, hustle, hustle! One of the most noticeable changes is the way Louisville runs its practices under coach Bobby Petrino. Not one second is allowed to be wasted, as Petrino wants both the offense and defense practicing at a high tempo. "Hustle up!" was yelled every single time a play ended, as players were encouraged to get lined back up as quickly as possible. At one point, when the offensive players could not get aligned properly, they were told they did not have the time to waste. With new offensive and defensive schemes getting installed, there is not a second to lose.
That brings me to the next point. Because the schemes are still unfamiliar to the players, a lot of drills and plays had to be run over and over again. Several players continued to make the same mistakes and had to keep running the drills until they got them down. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, a fiery personality just like Petrino, did not hold back his anger when players failed to execute plays properly. The first spring with a new staff always proves to be most challenging.
Ms. Adelson also posted an article about current starting QB Will Gardner. Here's a snippet for your reading pleasure.
"That’s every quarterback’s dream, to have a coach like Coach Petrino, who’s had successful offenses," Gardner said.
Gardner has now taken a lead in the race to replace Bridgewater, and is poised to start when the season opens Sept. 1 against Miami. Coaches have been impressed not only with his size (6-5, 230 pounds) but also his athleticism. He seems to be a perfect fit for the high-tempo offense Petrino likes to run.
"Really good fit," Petrino said. "He has presence in the pocket, good size and a quick release and he’s still a great athlete. That’s the one thing I didn’t realize when I first got here is how athletic he is. He had a great week of (strength and conditioning) testing, showed his competitive spirit and leadership with the other players. That’s when you started to see we might have something special here before it’s all over with."
UofL athletics has been releasing a series of videos interviewing each member of the football staff. The two newest interviews can be found in the links below.
The other coaches’ videos can be found in the last spring football update. They are short, informative, and well worth your time so check them out if you have a few minutes to spare.
Looks like somebody is already practicing for a yet-to-be-named blackout game.
Are you curious as to how the offense is shaping up this spring? Offensive Coordinator Garrick McGee gives an updates on the status of the offensive after eight practices
"I think the quarterbacks had a tough week. However, I think they had a good finish to the week. There are still a lot of details they need to work out. It’s a real hard position to play because every single step is important. I think [ QB Will Gardner] is a very talented kid. He just works very hard. There are some days on the field where he really understands what is going on both offensively and defensively that he can make the checks and get us into the right plays. "
On Wide Receivers
"We like Matt (Milton). He is a tall. He did a great job in our testing. He ran real fast for a guy his size. He started to impress us with his lifts and speed. In our meetings, I could tell he was really paying attention and trying to learn. When you have a guy that tall who can run, he can create problems down the field and making catches."
On Running Backs
"They did a better job this Saturday finishing runs. We like big backs because they finish falling forward. We thought last week that they jumped out of a lot of holes, and they didn’t run as physical as they should run. There were signs in the scrimmage that they wanted to be physical. I think they made improvement in regards to being physical runners."
Michael McCammon over at Cardinal Authority recently interviewed coaches and players following practice.
The Courier-Journal's Jeff Greer recently wrote about how early enrollee L.J. Scott is moving up the depth chart. He also has an article about how Petrino is settling into his old job. Both are worth a read if you have the time.
Linebacker Keith Brown is sitting out this spring as he rehabilitates from a knee injury he suffered last season. Kai De La Cruz caught up with him in an interview after Tuesday's practice.
Registration is now open for the UofL Women's Football Clinic on May 31st. Ladies can sign up here and reserve your spot.
The football team has been doing some community service this week.
Cardinals sign autographs at the Boys and Girls Haven on Thursday pic.twitter.com/qSRuVf0MYK— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) April 3, 2014
If podcasts are your thing, then you are in luck. The guys over at Louisville Sports Live talk spring football and previewed Louisville's entry into the ACC with ESPN’s Andrea Adelson and Athlon Sports’ Steve Lassan. The football talk starts at the 22:15 mark and you can check out the podcast here. Mark and Mike over at the TheCrunchZone also gave their take on the spring football season. The football talks starts at the 26:00 minute mark.
Last but not least, if you are thinking about attending today's practice, make note of the time change.
Football practice today starts at 3:40 p.m. and Saturday's practice will begin at 10 a.m.— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) April 4, 2014