The Louisville Football team held their annual spring game yesterday in front of a record 33,000 fans. With almost every starter and key reserve returning, there weren't many surprises in the game but there is still a lot to be excited about. A few notes from the game:
- Teddy Bridgewater is still Teddy Bridgewater, even though he looks like he had a "Face/Off" style procedure. He was accurate, mobile, and he made the right throw on every play. His backups on the other hand have a ways to go. Will Gardner settled down towards the end of the game and looked really good. The issue of course is that he has to look that way against the first team defense. Brett Nelson looked jittery in his first action at PJCS. With Teddy well ahead of the curve, hopefully these guys will be able to get more reps in the fall to improve.
- Domonique Brown is your feature back this year. I know we all say this every year about someone, but Brown looks so much better than he did at this point last year. His burst through the hole is better, his feet are much quicker, and he finally seems to understand that he can get past people as opposed to expecting contact and slowing down. This could be a big year for him if he can stay healthy. Brandon Radcliff is much better than I expected. I saw him as a power back that would have trouble bursting through the hole. I was WAY off. Radcliff got into the secondary multiple times and he looks like he has really worked on his body. He's proof that Pat Moorer is underpaid. He should get a good amount of carries this year.
- DeVante Parker has added a lot of muscle. He isn't the lanky kid we saw as a true freshman two years ago. His added bulk will only help when dealing with press coverage. The receivers as a whole looked great as usual. The weapons at Teddy's disposal are ridiculous.
- Ryan Mack got the start at Right Tackle with Jamon Brown switching sides to the left spot. Nacho Garcia was expected to move into the starting spot, but his struggles to contain Lorenzo Mauldin may be part of the reason that he's running with the second team. The depth of the line will be a major question mark going into the season. Hopefully things will get settled in the fall.
- Charlie Strong said that 6 Defensive Linemen missed the game due to injury. Jamaine Brooks and Marcus Smith both had surgery but are expected to be back in the fall. Sheldon Rankins, who had a sack in the Sugar Bowl is also out this spring. The depth of the line was showcased with these guys out. Lorenzo Mauldin couldn't be contained by anyone. Brandon Dunn caused a fumble and made a handful of plays in the backfield. If guys can stay healthy on the line the rotation will be hard to handle. Eight legit players across the front is something that is very rare.
- Mike Addesa had the best day of any linebacker on the field. He made a few plays against the first team offense that stood out. I didn't see Keith Brown or Nick Dawson on the field so it was nice to see a guy take advantage of his opportunity. George Durant had a fumble return for a touchdown in which he threw an alley-oop to Preston Brown. However, Brown blew the dunk on the field goal post.
- Jermaine Reve looks to be the guy with the responsibilty of replacing All-Big East cornerback Adrian Bushell. Reve has been listed as a Safety since coming to UofL, but he played Nickelback this past season. As a matter of fact, Reve played four positions in one game last year. His experience and skills should help him hold off Andrew Johnson and Charles Gaines. Gerrod Holliman finally got to show UofL fans what he can do on the field. I'm a big Holliman fan and I really think he could do great things here. He had two very big hits in the game and was a split second away from bringing down an interception. Calvin Pryor has made it clear that he expects to be preparing for the draft this time next year. Developing guys at the Safety sport is key if we will have two new guys there next year.
- Ryan Johnson and John Wallace are the specialist again this year. Both looked really good yesterday and I don't see too many issues there. Backup Punter Josh Appleby had a rough day, but it was good to see that it really bothered him. Putting pressure on yourself to play well is always a positive in my eye.