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Friday Afternoon Cardinal News and Notes

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Sure, we're all excited about Sept. 5 and Auburn, but Rob and Lettie Johnson would also like to remind you that Louisville basketball owns the Petersen Events Center. It's never a bad time for that reminder.

I_medium Louisville's game against Alabama in 2018 (have you guys heard about this?) will be the Crimson Tide's 7th straight neutral site game to open a season.

I_medium ESPN's David Hale talks about the Louisville running backs and Kolby Smith's comments on our radio show earlier this week.

@DavidHaleESPN @ESPN_ACC In a recent interview UofL's RB coach said this years group will be better than his 2006 group of RB's. Thoughts?

— Chris Person (@cpersonCPT) July 29, 2015

DH: Louisville RB coach Kolby Smith was the leading rusher on that 2006 team that also included Anthony Allen and Michael Bush and finished 11th nationally in rushing and forth in touchdowns, so he ought to know.

There are some concerns for Louisville though, starting with the O-line. Not including sacks, 23.4 percent of the Cardinals' carries last year went for a loss or no gain, 110th nationally. The blocking needs to get better to take advantage of the talent in the backfield.

When it comes to that talent though, this Louisville unit could be very good. Brandon Radcliff had a breakthrough season last year and is one of the best tough-yardage backs in the country. L.J. Scott is a bruiser who'll see more work this year, too. The real wild card, however, is Jeremy Smith, the juco transfer who earned raves this spring. He still needs to pick up on protections and blocking, but don't be surprised if he ends up a monster with the ball in his hands.

I_medium Louisville is quickly becoming a Power 5 king when it comes to playing a beefed up non-conference schedule.

I_mediumquick look at when every ACC team is starting their respective fall camps.

Boston College: Monday, Aug. 10

Clemson: Tuesday, Aug. 4

Duke: Wednesday, Aug. 5

Florida State: Thursday, Aug. 6

Georgia Tech: Saturday, Aug. 1

Louisville: Thursday, Aug. 6

Miami: Thursday, Aug. 6

Pitt: Saturday, Aug. 10

North Carolina: Monday, Aug. 3

NC State: Tuesday, Aug. 4

Syracuse: Sunday, Aug. 9

Virginia: Friday, Aug. 7

Virginia Tech: Friday, Aug. 7

Wake Forest: Thursday, Aug. 6

We are so close to football, you guys.

I_medium Don't let these fine folks down.

I_medium With today's commitment from Caleb Tillman, Louisville's 2015 recruiting class now ranks 17th in the country according to Rivals.com.

I_medium Get to know freshman offensive lineman Geron Christian (Gerald's little brother) better, because he might be seeing the field in his first year as a Cardinal.

I_medium SI looks at how the top 25 recruits from the college hoops class of 2015 (which features no Cardinals) will fit in with their teams this season.

I_medium YOU STILL HAVE TIME.

I_medium Jeff Walz spoke with the media today and revealed, among other things, that all members of his top-rated 2015 recruiting class are good to go for the upcoming season.

I_medium In the last three days I have spent countless hours on the phone to deal with both an overcharge from U-Verse and a health insurance cancellation with Humana. I will be drinking and drinking heavily this evening as a personal reward.

I_medium Bobby Petrino continues to draw creativity from everywhere, writes Eric Crawford.

"When you're a power team and you have the best players and can overpower people, then that's what you do," Petrino said. "But if you're not that, you have to find different ways to move the ball and try to isolate a defender and give the quarterback a decision to make off of one guy. That's really what the option is, trying to make one guy make a decision, then being able to play off what he does. Some of the things we did last year, like in the Wake Forest game, and when Reggie (Bonnafon) was in early, were based on those philosophies, instead of overpowering people."

If Petrino has ever faced more offensive question marks than he will this season, I'm not sure when or where it has been. His primary receiver has been lost to the NFL Draft, he's working his way through five quarterback candidates to find a starter, and he'll need to rebuild his offensive line.

But when he sat down at ACC Media Days, he seemed energized by the challenge.

The first change has to happen on first down. When he went back over video and statistics from a year ago, he wasn't satisfied with what he saw.

"We weren't where we needed to be," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do. You have to not only be close to 50-50 on first down, but you look at the efficiency. We weren't efficient enough running the ball on first down and not efficient enough on the yards we got per pass attempt. So that means we weren't getting what I call chunk plays. And that's really what was lacking from our offense. We didn't have the long runs or huge throws for touchdowns that we normally have. We've either got to get better at making somebody miss one-on-one running the ball, or better blocking with our receivers. There were a couple of opportunities where it looked like we were going to have a big play and then a receiver didn't get his block or do what he was supposed to do. So it's all 11 guys getting better."

I_medium Bobby Petrino will speak at the U of L football kickoff luncheon, which is set for Friday, Aug. 21.

I_medium Former U of L star Adam Duvall was traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Cincinnati Reds last night as part of the Giants' deal for Mike Leake.

I_medium A Southern football website has Louisville as its No. 25 team for the upcoming season.

I_medium And finally ,Ramsey & Rutherford will be coming to you live from 3-6 at the Hargrave Military Academy Open House. Hargrave basketball coach A.W. Hamilton and Luke Hancock will both be in the house, we'll talk about the big football news of the day, and we'll have a conversation with Rick Pitino. Should be the most fun anyone has ever had doing anything. Tune in.