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Tuesday Afternoon Cardinal News and Notes

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The Cards may just be starting play today, but Paul Schlotterbeck has been tailgating in a Puerto Rican rainforest since 2014.

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I_medium Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will be on the call (along with Allie Laforce on the sidelines) for Louisville vs. Auburn on CBS in 25 days.

Palashus.

I_medium For those who have asked, we will be having open threads here for all the Puerto Rico games, including the two tonight. Also, for anyone who's looking to watch the game with like-minded folks in public, I do know that Saint's Pizza Pub in St. Matthews will be showing all nine of the games on their televisions.

August basketball is here, y'all.

I_medium It's hard to believe it's been exactly four years to the day since our last taste of August hoops, which is hilarious to read about in hindsight.

I don't think anyone who watched Thursday night's exhibition game will be shocked by the statement that the Commonwealth Giants - two-time defending champions of the New Providence Basketball Association - are worse than any team on Louisville's 2011-2012 schedule.

That being the case, it only makes sense that reading into what took place in the Bahamas on Thursday with any degree of depth would be a foolish act. And yet that's precisely what we're going to do. Because we're us. And you love it.

...

Enjoying(?) the new Russ Smith, but he has to know at this point that Pitino is going to be on him the entire year. It's not hard to tell (I guess unless your Russ) that Pitino didn't actually want to move him to the two guard, so it's not surprising to see the younger Smith getting ripped every time he makes the slightest mistake.

Still, I didn't know he had that dunk in him.

...

Who was your favorite Giant? The guy with red shorts, the one with no number, the 44-year-old who missed the game because of work, or the player who works as a bellman at the hotel where the team is staying?

I'm goin' red shorts.

Safe to say the level of competition is going to be much different this go 'round.

I_medium The C-J's Steve Jones recaps Monday's full squad/full pads open practice, in which Devonte Fields and Lamar Jackson captured much of the post-practice commentary from the U of L fan base.

I_medium How good is the 2015 Louisville defense going to be? James Burgess says the best in the country.

"I really believe this defense is going to be better this year," said Burgess, a senior. "I believe we're going to be number one in the country.

"We have a lot of experience in the front seven. There's where football starts. On defense, the core is the front seven. If you have a lot of experience and great players there, it helps the secondary be better.

"Our front seven is very experienced ... We're going to be very great on defense."

I_medium Louisville checks in at No. 25 on CBS' rankings of all 128 FBS teams. Kentucky, for what it's worth, is No. 68, two spots lower than their week one opponent, Louisiana Lafayette. Also hilariously notable is Syracuse at No. 95.

I_medium Season tickets are now on sale for the 2015 U of L men's soccer season. Here's more info. Single match tickets for both the men's and women's sides are also available.

I_medium It seems like every season now Auburn is replacing a guy who just led the SEC in rushing with another guy who goes on to lead the SEC in rushing. The Tigers are hoping the next in that line is Jovon Robinson.

In the final game of GMC's 2014 season, the Bulldogs were without their starting kicker due to a suspension, and their backup entered the halftime locker room with an injury. The staff needed someone who could do the kickoff to start the third quarter.

Jovon volunteered.

"He lined it up straight on—and kicked it out of the back of the end zone," Ross said. "Our radio announcer put it best when he goes, 'Is there anything this kid can't do?'"

Now Jovon will put his all-around skills to the test in the SEC with Auburn, the team he signed with out of high school before an NCAA investigation found his high school grades were altered.

Head coach Gus Malzahn wanted Jovon back on the Plains after his standout seasons in Georgia—and the Tigers won a head-to-head battle with rival Alabama for his signature.

"Gus is one of those guys who will ride that horse until it bucks, you know?" Ross said. "That's one of the things that made Jovon go back to Auburn. Coach Malzahn said, 'Look, I'm gonna give it to you as many times as you can tote it.'"

The 6'0", 230-pound Robinson fits the mold of the every-down back that Auburn has used to perfection in Malzahn's two seasons as head coach. Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne took that role and became the leading rushers in the SEC in back-to-back seasons, and Jovon Robinson has the talent to pull off the three-peat.

"Jovon is that special," Ross said. "In 2006, my last year as an assistant at UAB, we played Oklahoma to start the season, and Adrian Peterson is the only running back I've seen in person that is better than Jovon.

"He's determined over at Auburn. That's the one word I would use to describe Jovon. He's going to find ways to make things work, period. He's going to do whatever you need him to do."

I_medium Michael Dyer is the fifth running back listed on the Oakland Raiders' first depth chart of 2015.

I_medium The CBS college basketball folks asked coaches to anonymously pick which player in the country they'd like to have above all others. Providence's Kris Dunn topped the list.

I_medium More number goodness from ESPN's David Hale:

I_medium Having the 2015 College Football Playoff semifinals on New Year's Eve is dumb, but we're all going to watch anyway.

I_medium Now former Minnesota AD Norwood Teague is a super creep.

I_medium After five years out of the game, ultimate Cards fan Jonathan Blue is looking to get back in the sports business.

I_medium Every day we crawl closer.

I_medium The Army-Navy basketball rivalry is going to be played at Madison Square Garden, which I think is cool.

I_medium Sports on Earth has Louisville at No. 9 on its list of the 25 best defenses in college football for 2015.

9. Louisville. Bobby Petrino may be one of the sharpest offensive minds in the country, but defense is carrying the Cardinals right now, with Todd Grantham building an excellent unit upon his arrival. Louisville ranked 11th in yards per play, 10th against the run and fifth in defensive passer rating last year. Now, there is a chance there is a drop-off. Only three of the top 10 tacklers return, with key players like pass rusher Lorenzo Mauldin, interception ace Gerod Holliman and leading tackler James Sample gone. But there is a core of proven players up front, and reinforcements are available elsewhere. Defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins is an underappreciated star, while the linebacker combination of Keith Kelsey and James Burgess is terrific. Now, we'll see what happens with an influx of transfers: pass rusher Devonte Fields, who was the Big 12's defensive player of the year as a freshman at TCU in 2012, arrives from the juco ranks (although Petrino is currently working on getting Fields into proper shape, apparently). And the secondary is bolstered by two Georgia transfers who previously played for Grantham: cornerback Shaq Wiggins and safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. It remains to be seen if all the pieces will gel, but the individual talent is primed for big things. The pieces will, however, need to fit together in a hurry, as Louisville opens with a brutal trio of games against Auburn, Houston and Clemson.

I_medium Making Saved by the Bell-themed Louisville clothing but only for women might be the most cruel thing anyone has ever done to me.

I_medium The CCBM continues its summer love-fest with Wisconsin.

I_medium A look at how all the major college football coaches compare when it comes to record against the to 25 (Bobby Petrino is 14-19).

I_medium Still looking for a 2015 Louisville football poster? Enter here before Aug. 14 for a chance to win one.

I_medium Ohh lawd it's on.

I_medium It appears that a team which included Chane Behanan won the Dirt Bowl over the weekend.

I_medium Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins make Grantland's list of college football's biggest impact transfers for 2015.

S Josh Harvey-Clemons and CB Shaq Wiggins, Georgia to Louisville

After hiring a suitable player development coordinator, one of Bobby Petrino's first orders of business upon taking over as Louisville's head coach was to convince this duo of former Georgia Bulldogs to help bolster the Cardinals' secondary. Both played under current Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham at Georgia in 2013 and are projected to startfor the Cardinals this season.

If you follow recruiting, you surely remember Harvey-Clemons, a formerfive-star prospect who famously experienced some pesky paperwork troubles on signing day. Meanwhile, if stalking high school football players isn't your thing, you probably remember Harvey-Clemons as the guy whose ill-advised deflection led to the Prayer at Jordan-Hare, and the guy who then got booted from the Bulldogs due to a violation of team rules.

Coincidentally, Louisville opens the 2015 season against Auburn. It seems safe to assume that Harvey-Clemons will be searching for some redemption.

For his part, Wiggins attributed his transfer to Louisville's willingness to embrace his personality and proceeded to describe himself as "jovial, carefree, and a bit of a jokester" in a written statement to 247Sports. Let me be the first to say that I am shocked — SHOCKED — that a player with a sense of humor proved incompatible with Mark Richt. Considering that Wiggins was thrown out of a Louisville practice this spring, however, it remains to be seen if Petrino has embraced Wiggins's personality any more than Wiggins's former coach did. Remind me why there isn't a Hard Knocks-style reality show following Louisville around this fall?

I_medium Dennis Smith Jr., the top point guard in the class of 2016 who has Louisville in his final six, has suffered a torn ACL that will keep him sidelined for 6-9 months.

I_medium Louisville checks in at No. 5 in ESPN's final preseason ACC power poll.

I_medium You're doing it right, man.

I_medium USA Women's National Soccer Team head coach Jill Ellis will appear at the University of Louisville women's soccer game against Washington at 1 p.m. August 23 at Lynn Stadium. Ellis will also make an appearance at a free post-game clinic for kids 13 and under.

I_medium Louisville's group of running backs believe they have to step up for the team to reach its 2015 goals.

I_medium Gotta fight harder to work your way into the picture, David.

I_medium The Louisville-Saint Louis game at the Barclays Center is officially set for Nov. 28 at  8 p.m. Yes, that's the same day as the U of L-UK football game.

I_medium The 2015-16 Cards already appear to have zero reservations about photobombing Rick Pitino.

I_medium And finally, we've got full coverage of both fall practice and Cardinal hoops in Puerto Rico today from 3-6 on Ramsey & Rutherford.