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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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The Card Chronicle summer tour is back and rolling along with David Cassell and his brave grandson Garrett on a suspension bridge over Oribi Gourge, South Africa.

I_medium The sitters told me you guys were good, so I guess you can have these NEWS and these NOTES that I brought back from Italy. I know, they're soft, right? The guys on the side of the road said they're both 100 percent silk. Don't put that in your mouth.

I_medium Jawon Pass, who has been camping at Alabama the last two days, still plans at this point to announce his college decision tomorrow. His three finalists are the Crimson Tide, Louisville and Auburn.

Pass has been pretty tight-lipped about which way he might be leaning, but...

I suppose we'll all find out tomorrow.

I_medium Maverick Rowan might still be coming to Louisville ... or something, I don't even know. People kept trying to ask me about his new list when we were inside the Sistine Chapel, and I was just like, "buddy, not today."

I_medium Summer League recap to this point:

--Russ Smith hit two game-winners, including one in the championship game, and made the All-Orlando Summer League team after averaging 14.8 points and 6.2 assists in five games (all of which the Grizzlies won).

--Earl Clark had a less productive week, averaging just 4.3 ppg for the Brooklyn Nets in four games, all of which the team lost. It appears that E5 is a likely candidate to be waived by the team.

--Peyton Siva averaged 5.0 points and a solid 4.5 assists per game for the Orlando Magic's Blue squad, but shot just 1-of-10 from beyond the arc.

--Wayne Blackshear averaged 5.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, and 1 apg in four games for the Spurs.

--As for this week's action in Las Vegas, Montrezl Harrell is already dunking on dudes.

I_medium The season of motivational locker room quotes has officially arrived.

Tony Jones made the drive from Anniston, Ala., to the Wynfrey Hotel for SEC media days Monday, sporting an Auburn hat and a T-shirt reading "BOOM BROTHERS," celebrating the pairing of Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn with new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

As he stood in the hotel lobby with like-minded SEC fans, he wasn't thinking about an ACC team.

"I ain't worried about them," replied Jones when asked about Louisville, Auburn's opening opponent. "... I'm hoping we have a great season. I would like a perfect season, but it's the SEC, and you never know."

The rest of the Auburn representatives at SEC media days, however, have been far less brazen.

"I respect (Petrino) as a coach," Malzahn said. "You look at his track record, we've got our hands full that first game. I know that they're a top 25 team. He's had them for a year, and he's been successful at that place before."

"It's going to be very fun. Louisville has got a great defense," Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson said. "They've got a great offensive coach in Coach Petrino. It's a big test for our team, and it's going to pretty much define our team and determine our season."

...

"I hope the fans in general take it seriously," Bramblett said, "because this is a good Louisville team. Defensively, they're going to be really, really tough. And you do have that Petrino angle, and there's that little bit of history (of Petrino coaching at Auburn) going back to the early 2000s. I think the fans are excited. They'd rather open up against a quality opponent like Louisville at the Georgia Dome as compared to opening up against Jacksonville State, who they play the next week at home. It adds a sense of urgency to the season opener.

"I think fans are excited. I hope they're taking Louisville seriously. I know the coaches are."

I_medium U of L linebacker James Burgess has been named as a nominee for the 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team -- the "most prestigious off-the-field honor in college football." The award recognizes a select group of college football players who have made a commitment to helping others and making a positive impact on their communities.

Burgess boasts an impressive resume of community service accomplishments, including:

--Volunteering his time at the Salvation Army and local community center
--Participating in the Bowl for Kids and Kids Cancer Locker events
--Involvement in youth programs, "Get Active" and "Go To College"

From this year's record number of 197 nominees, a final roster of 22 award recipients - comprised of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA - will be unveiled in September.

I_medium Congrats to Josh Rogers, who is now officially a member of the Yankees organization.

I_medium Louisville has extended a scholarship offer to class of 2016 point guard Payton Pritchard. The West Linn, Ore. native recently decommitted from Oklahoma.

I_medium Alabama/Wisconsin and Louisville/Auburn seem to be the two front-runners when it comes to where ESPN College GameDay will choose to set up shop on week one.

I_medium Grizzlies blog Beale Street Bears heaps some praise on Russ Smith for his huge week in Orlando.

Russ Smith was by far the best player of the game once again and the argument could be made that he was the most impressive youngster in the entire 2015 Orlando Summer League. Despite his small stature, Smith routinely drove into the lane, grabbed rebounds, made big baskets, and found teammates for good shot attempts in each of the Grizzlies' games this week. He displayed clutch shooting and playmaking abilities while coming up with huge defensive stops.

Just how instant was his offense? Take a look for yourself at this halftime buzzer-beating and lead-changing dagger:

With such a great week by Russdiculous, one has to think that there is a guaranteed roster spot with Russ' name written on it in permanent ink. Smith was the epitome of grit-‘n'-grind in each game.

I_medium Campus Insiders takes a look back the the top three plays from the 2014 Louisville football season.

I_medium Louisville and Patrick McSweeney get a shoutout from the NCAA in their section of the most emotional moments of the 2014-15 athletic season.

I_medium James Quick makes the ACC Digital Network's list (video) of the top five receivers in the conference heading into the 2015 season.

I_medium There are a limited number of spots for this camp featuring four former Cardinal greats still available:


I_medium DeVante Parker is still on pace to be healthy and available for the Miami Dolphins' season-opener on Sept. 13.

I_medium The Wall Street Journal says that the SEC, college football's biggest bully, seems a little bit scared these days.

I_medium Speaking of bullying, Jeff Greer has one of his stupid ask me anythings, or whatever, for the Courier-Journal.

I_medium Asia Durr is coming to Louisville with a ton of hype on her shoulders, but she doesn't mind.

Touted by many as the best player to come out of the Peach State since Maya Moore, Durr knows her role in all the hype.

"It's been fun and kind of overwhelming at the same time," she says of the lofty expectations bestowed on her upon her arrival to the U of L. "I can't wait to go out there and prove myself. Sometimes you just have to go out there, do what you do, have fun and just tune all of that out. It's all part of it."

I_medium Here are six charts showcasing the different brands of football played in college football's five major conferences.

I_medium After a family tragedy derailed his coaching career, former U of L assistant Mark Lieberman is getting back in the game.

I_medium The hairdo that Brad Calipari showcased at last weekend's Peach Jam was interesting.

I_medium We talked a little about the PanAm games earlier, but there's some more Cardinal news from the event that exists outside of the gym. The U of L Cardinal swimming contingent took home two medals with Kelsi Worrell winning silver and Joao De Lucca taking home gold in the 4x100 Free Relay finals Tuesday in the first night of competition in Toronto.

Brazil won the men's 4x100-meter free relay for the fifth time in a row at the Pan Ams, while Canada out-touched Team USA for silver. Brazil's Matheus Santana (49.28), Joao De Lucca (48.06), Bruno Fratus (48.56) and Marcelo Chierighini (47.76) boarded a blazing time of 3:13.66 for the gold. That swim bested Brazil's previous mark of 3:14.65 from 2011.

Worrell anchored the USA women's 4x100-meter free relay in the prelims with a split of 54.03 as the United States set a Pan American record time of 3:37.28.

I_medium Regardless of if you love Taylor Swift or don't even know who she is, this story from two of her fans is pretty cool.

I_medium 247Sports says Preston Brown is already Buffalo's most irreplaceable player.

Preston Brown, LB 
While he may only have one NFL season under his belt Preston Brown, the third-round pick out of Louisville, has made quite the impact and has been deemed worthy of being named one of the Buffalo Bills most irreplaceable players. Since his inception into the league, Brown has been the most productive and the most played linebacker for the Bills playing 93.8 percent of the defensive snaps which ranked 18th among linebackers in 2014. While he didn't play every snap like former Bills linebackerKiko Alonso did, he still had a rookie season as he led the team in tackles, mustering up a total of 109 tackles, 66 of them being solo along with 43 assisted tackles. Brown, in addition, chalked up one fumble recovery, an interception and had two pass deflections in his rookie year.

While Brown led the Bills in tackles and snaps played, he was also the best coverage linebacker for Buffalo and was one of the best in the league ranking third in the NFL's pass coverage metric. That is huge considering the NFL is a pass first league which puts more pressure on linebackers to go out and cover wide receivers more frequently. Additionally, it makes Brown an even more valuable asset to the Bills knowing that he can go out in coverage which is something he needs to continue in his sophomore season. Although Brown has done well, he still has areas to improve in; mostly his run stopping ability as he has struggled to be a dominant run stopper, unlike former Buffalo Bills, LB Brandon Spikes, who was a great run-stopper.

Furthermore, Brown is also very young, 22, and can only build upon what he has done in his short NFL career. And it looks to be a bright one for Brown especially under the new command of Rex Ryan as he will get the opportunity to play even more snaps than he did last year because of coach Ryan's tendency to use more traditional linebackers in his defense like Brown and fellow linebacker Nigel Bradham in a 4-3 defense. With the Buffalo projected to be one of the top defenses in 2015, Brown has the opportunity to become yet another defensive stalwart for an already impressive group of Bills defenders.

I_medium The Austin Nichols drama at Memphis has ended with the school granting the (now former) Tiger star with an unconditional transfer release. The buzz around the college hoops world is that Nichols, who played awfully well against Louisville as a freshman two seasons ago, is interested in taking his game to Virginia. He'll have to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules before having two years of eligibility left.

I_medium Here's a name from the past: former Louisville commit Travonte Valentine is transferring to Arizona Western Community College.

I_medium We're coming, Carolina.

I_medium The Atlanta Journal Constitution notes that this year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will feature two of the teams college football fans in the A love to hate the most.

The All-Time Atlanta Hate Game.

Auburn is one of the participants, and Auburn and Georgia have been having at it for more than a century. "Like two brothers wrestling," is how the former Auburn publicist/athletic director David Housel famously put the Deep South's oldest rivalry, and there was a time when fraternity prevailed. (After all, Vince Dooley played at Auburn and Pat Dye at Georgia.)

That time, alas, is gone. Georgia fans still haven't gotten over being hosed — literally — after Dooley's Bulldogs upset Dye's Tigers in 1986. (Auburn officials turned water cannon on celebrants who wouldn't leave. I was there. It remains among the strangest sights I've beheld.) More recently, Bulldog backers were incensed when Nick (un)Fairley kept pile-driving Aaron Murray into the turf in 2010, and the 2013 Prayer at Jordan-Hare ripped civility to pieces.

Georgia lost to Auburn on pass thrown by Nick Marshall, who'd been a Bulldog until he was kicked off the team for his role in a dormitory theft, and deflected by defenders Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons. The Tigers would go on to the play for the BCS title. For the Bulldogs, worse was to come.

Matthews was dismissed from the program after being charged with theft by deception (trying to cash the same scholarship check twice) and then being involved in a classroom altercation with a teacher. Ouch. He transferred to Auburn. Double ouch.

Harvey-Clemons had earlier been given the Bulldog boot for what were reported as failed drug tests. He transferred to Louisville. Auburn's opponent in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic?

Louisville.

Harvey-Clemons and Matthews figure to start for their new teams Sept. 5 after sitting out last season. (Matthews was the MVP of Auburn's spring game.) Auburn's defense will be coordinated by Will Muschamp, who played at Georgia but had the unmitigated gall to coach Florida, albeit not well. Louisville's defense will be coordinated by Todd Grantham, who was Georgia's defensive coordinator until he had the unmitigated gall to go make even more money elsewhere.

I_medium Bleacher Nation, which covers the Cubs organization, takes a look at Sutton Whiting.

I_medium Card Chronicle poster CrazyAunt needs your help. Her dog, Kitty Boots, has been missing for 11 days in the Germantown area of Louisville. The dog has cancer, so understandably, her owner is desperate to get her back.

She broke out on the 4th of July and is wearing a U of L collar:

If you have any information, please let me know.

I_medium The C-J takes an offseason look at the U of L linebackers.

I_medium Gerald Christan has enjoyed all of the "Mr. Irrelevant" festivities, but now he's ready to prove that he's worthy of a more complimentary title.

I_medium When all the dust settles, I'm going to have a full post on all the things that the money donated from the Belk Bowl fundraiser has accomplished since December, but here's a sneak peak: the money helped send Louisville youth Bryce Crawford to an all-star game in Miami that he had qualified for but wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. Bryce wound up intercepting two passes and hauling in a touchdown catch to earn Game MVP honors.

Now we can all say that we helped Louisville get the inside track on his recruitment.

I_medium Bobby Petrino says he'd like to name a starting quarterback about two weeks before the season-opener against Auburn.

I_medium And finally, I'm excited to be back in the radio groove today form 3-6 on 93.9 The Ville. We'll have Rick Pitino on at 5, and you'll want to tune in as he'll 100 percent be making fun of me at some point for taking a vacation.