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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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If you don't believe in the Louisville/Virginia rivalry, we've got Zach Kees out here Chronning John Paul Jones Arena in early August.

I_medium Happy  first day of practice, y'all. I hope you celebrate my destroying a tackling sled Willie Williams style.

I_medium It's a safe bet that you're going to see at least a couple of Louisville's four true freshman wide receivers on the field this season.

"We're really excited about Emonee Spence," he said of the former University of Miami commitment who was ranked the No. 46 receiver nationally by ESPN.com. "He can really run, he's got great movement, and he's going to be able to get open."

Peete, another Floridian who was ESPN's No. 26 receiver and No. 213 player nationally, is exceptionally tall for the position, and McGee said he "can really run and jump for a ball."

...

Samuel, meanwhile, was U of L's highest-ranked 2015 high school signee, according to ESPN, at No. 174 nationally, and he was considered one of the South's most explosive, shiftiest multipurpose backs.

After having the benefit of enrolling in January and going through spring ball, he figures to help the Cards with plays out in space after the catch and maybe in the kick-return game.

McGee has been a fan of his for a long time.

When he was the head coach at UAB, McGee first saw Samuel, of Phenix City, Ala., as freshman at the Blazers' camp. Samuel is only 5-7 now, so one can imagine how small he was four years ago, McGee said, but he didn't back down.

"He was as competitive and intense and good (as anyone), and I offered him a scholarship right on the spot," McGee said.

I_medium Teddy Bridgewater will open up his 2015 campaign when the Vikings face the Steelers in preseason action on Sunday.

I_medium Here's the full press release on Louisville/Alabama from ESPN:

The Alabama Crimson Tide will play the Louisville Cardinals in the Orlando Citrus Bowl during college football's opening weekend in 2018. The neutral-site season opener is part of an annual series of Orlando Kickoff games.

The 2018 matchup is the second announced game in a multi-year agreement between Florida Citrus Sports (FCSports) and ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, to host major neutral-site, regular-season college football games in the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The Orlando Citrus Bowl is already home to the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl and Florida Blue Florida Classic games. Neither school has played in the stadium since its near complete reconstruction a year ago.

"This game continues a trend of big-time events landing in the brand-new Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium," said FCSports President Harold Mills. "Alabama and Louisville is a great matchup to start the 2018 season and yet another reason to become a season ticket member of our organization — to get access to premium seats for games like this."

"We are thrilled to have the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Louisville Cardinals play in the Orlando Citrus Bowl to open the 2018 college football season," said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President, ESPN Events. "This game has all the makings to be not only a quality matchup of two great college football programs, but also serve as a wonderful experience for the student-athletes and fans."

The Tide and Cardinals have met just three times previous, with the most recent tilt coming in 1991 and Alabama leading the all-time series, 2-1.

To date, Alabama has played twice in Orlando, with this being its first neutral-site regular-season game in The City Beautiful. It won the 1995 CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl, 24-7, over Ohio State, and was victorious in the 2011 Capital One Bowl, 49-7 over Michigan State.

"The 2018 game will mark the seventh consecutive neutral-site season opener for the Crimson Tide," said Director of Athletics Bill Battle. "Neutral-site games have been good for Alabama in national exposure as well as financially under Coach Saban's leadership. Our first regular-season neutral-site game in Orlando will provide another great matchup of national interest against an excellent Louisville program, but is also a new venue that I believe our fans will enjoy."

This will be the first neutral-site regular-season game for the Cardinals in Orlando as well. Their lone prior contest at the Orlando Citrus Bowl came in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl, a 36-9 win over Miami.

"Kicking off the 2018 season with a great opponent like Alabama is a tremendous way to start the season," said Louisville Athletics Director Tom Jurich. "We continually want to play highly respected opponents each year, and adding a traditional power like Alabama in the opener will certainly be an outstanding challenge. We have a vision to be the best we can be, and to do that, we have to play the best.  We are also thrilled to be headed back to a destination city like Orlando. I know our fan base will respond for this tremendous match-up."

Tickets will go on sale in late 2017, with Florida Citrus Sports members getting priority access as they do for the annual bowl games and for the 2016 Orlando Kickoff game between Florida State and Ole Miss. For membership information, call 407.423.2476 or go to http://www.floridacitrussports.com/membership.

I_medium Your official women's basketball non-conference schedule for the 2015-16 season:

LOUISVILLE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Nov. 15 vs. California
Nov. 21 at Western Kentucky
Nov. 27 vs. Marist ^
Nov. 28 vs. TBD ^
Nov. 29 vs. TBD ^
Dec. 3 at Michigan State %
Dec. 5 vs. Valparaiso
Dec. 10 at Kentucky
Dec. 13 vs. IUPUI
Dec. 15 vs. Dartmouth
Dec. 18 at Tennessee Tech
Dec. 20 at College of Charleston
Dec. 28 vs. UT-Martin
Feb. 15 vs. South Florida
^ Gulf Coast Showcase (Estero, Fla.)
% Big Ten/ACC Challenge

I_medium It appears as though Lorenzo Mauldin and Deiontrez Mount are both getting a solid dose of life as an NFL rookie.

I_medium Taylor County point guard David Sloan (2017) "loved" his unofficial visit to Louisville on Wednesday.

I_medium U of L is getting a visit from summer star Andrew Jones today, who visited Texas on Tuesday and will be at Baylor tomorrow.

I_medium Louisville is in the final six for 4-star safety Lamarques Thomas out of Mississippi.

I_medium I get that it's a slogan that the athletic department might not even have any control over, buuutttt....

You haven't won a road game since Charlie Strong's first game in 2010.

I_medium A nice interview with Edgar Sosa (video), who talks about where he grew up and the loss of one of his closest childhood friends.

I_medium Terry Rozier's first basketball camp will take place at the end of August at Kentucky Country Day.

I_medium The U of L men's golf team has released its 2015-16 schedule.

I_medium The bracket for the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis, the tournament Louisville played in back in 2012 and will play in again next November, has been released.

I_medium The folks over at BC Interruption try their hand at previewing at Louisville.

Biggest Strength for 2015:

Oh Mama be still my heart for this defense. I don't care who's playing secondary at this point - the defensive line is going to be so good that you or I could go out there and defend these receivers. Run-first teams are going to need mega help to penetrate into the teeth of that defense, and pass-first teams are going to find themselves with a lot less time than necessary.

Given Florida State's need to replace parts on offense, Clemson's lack of experience on the offensive line, Boston College's lack of a true passing game, and Syracuse/Wake Forest's collective abysmal offenses, the defense could run Louisville straight through to an ACC Championship Game berth. If you want a risky but fun bet to make, mark it down for the 'Ville.

I_medium While the elder Pitino and Louisville will be taking the court in Puerto Rico, the younger Pitino and his Golden Gophers will be touring Spain.

I_medium Former Card Adam Duvall cranked his third home run in four games for the Louisville Bats on Wednesday. His 29 bombs are the most in minor league baseball this season.

I_medium Eli Rogers, who was having a tremendous summer for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been placed on the injured/waived list after the foot injury he suffered during practice on Tuesday was deemed to require surgery. It's an awful break for Rogers, who had been impressive enough to earn a significant chunk of reps with the first team offense.

I_medium And finally, Ramsey & Rutherford is back from 3-6 today featuring a recap of today's Rick Pitino press conference, an update from U of L's first day of football practice, and an insider look at the Clemson Tigers.