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Louisville Football National Signing: Bobby Petrino Discusses 2014 Class

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Andy Lyons

Press conference highlights:

--We're excited about this class. I can't say enough about the hardwork that our assistants put in to make this happen in such a small time framer. We had a very short period of time to work with, but we were able to go out and create some relationships. We also had some difficult decision to make and had just three weekends to make them. It's a situation I've never been in before but I'm happy about the way it turned out.

--When we go out and recruit we look at three areas. The first is a player's character, attitude and intelligence. The second is his measurables (size, speed, agility, etc.). The final area is football skill, intuition and how you play the game. That's the criteria we use when we evaluate each player.

--We were able to find the guys we wanted to put in place. It was really hard because we didn't have much time to get to know our own team. We got together as a staff and watched the tape of last year's games and tried to evaluate the guys we have coming back to know what our areas of need were.

--With the spread offense, you have to be able to attack from the outside in, which is why I'm very excited about the three cornerbacks and the one safety we signed. The safety (Michael Johnson) was really dedicated to coming to the University of Louisville and really helped us throughout this recruiting process.

--I feel good about what we were able to do defensively, but we're still hoping to add a guy

--Offensively, the No. 1 thing you need to compete is a great player at the quarterback position, and that's something the University of Louisville has become known for. We're very excited about Reggie Bonnafon, a guy who can really throw the ball, who can really run and who has great instincts. We were also able to bring in Tyler Ferguson from Penn State, who's very talented. He has a big arm and he's very mobile, but we're really excited about his maturity and leadership. He's a guy who will really help us this next year even though he's not playing.

--We got some big physical guys up front for our offensive line and two tight ends who are great compliments to one another.

--You need to find playmakers, and we think we have that in a young running back who's already on campus (LJ Scott). I was very impressed by his tape, with his agility and speed. We also needed to bring in wide receivers because we have five guys who will be leaving after this season, and we feel like we got three good ones.

--This recruiting process was different. It was really different. The extended dead period really hurt because we were only able to go out for three weeks. We weren't able to use up all our visits, which has never happened to me before.

--Teams really came after Reggie Bonnafon. He actually had another visit set up, but he stayed strong. He really wants to play here and his parents really want to see him play here. It was huge to get him here.

--My philosophy is that from today on, we're getting these guys prepared to play next fall. They need to have that mentality as they go into the weightroom.

--We'd like to add two or three guys to this class. We wanted to leave a couple spots open because we feel like there are going to be some guys available, and also because we'd like to have the option to make a midyear signing.

--We know these recruits better than we know our own players right now, because we all hit the road right when we got here. Now it's going to be really fun to get to know the guys we have and learn about them. It's another reason we wanted to leave a spot or two open because we'll have a better understanding of where we need to improve after spring ball.

--Kelby Johnson was a guy we really wanted because of his experience. He's played in this conference (at NC State) and the players really liked him when he came here for his visit. He'll compete right out of the gate for a starting job once spring ball starts.

--Our staff worked extremely hard. You have to trust your own evaluation and go through the process. It's easier said than done to trust yourself and not worry about the stars, but when you do that you end up with guys like Breno Giaomini, who just won a Super Bowl. We were the only ones recruiting that guy.

--Has a great deal of respect for Charlie Strong with the way the players he has recruited have come here and got their degrees.

--I like to recruit the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia because I learned when I was down there with the Jaguars just how much the young guys down there are engrossed in football. I like to recruit players who grew up like that.

--This schedule is very exciting but it's also cause to be nervous.

--I think we did a good job on hitting the needs we have - QB, OL, TE, specialty players and the secondary. The big need we still have is an interior player. We need a big guy who can keep our linebackers free. We don't have enough numbers at the interior spot.

--I don't think we recruited one guy that we had at Western. The level of athlete that we're looking for here is different than what we were after down there.

--I still have a hard time understanding the whole graduating early thing. Would you want to give up the spring semester of your senior year of high school? But guys want to do it now, and we've had a couple of them already add 10 pounds.

--We really like Tyler Ferguson's traits and abilities. When you sit down and talk football with him, it's obvious that he's been trained very well. Next spring we feel like he'll be able to compete for the starting job. That's what you want to get: quarterbacks who can compete for starting jobs.

--We're telling Reggie Bonnafon that we want him to compete for the starting job right away, because we do. That's the mindset he should have.

--We don't know that much about the three guys we have coming back, but we will. We've seen a little film on Will Gardner from last year and he looks like he has a big arm and understands the game well. The job is wide open, but Will will start off as the guy because somebody has to and he was the backup last year.

--We started working on next year's class today. I already feel like we're behind because we haven't been here for that full cycle. We're behind, but we will catch up.

--We are going to hire a safeties coach very soon.