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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Reid Metzger can't wait for 2016, but still longs for the days of Big East football that he never got to experience.

I_medium Sheldon Rankins, who became the fourth-highest draft pick in the history of Louisville football last night, says that being a New Orleans Saint is a dream come true.

The newest New Orleans Saint has been to the city once, but he basically stayed in his hotel room.

"Uh, not too much really," Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said Thursday night when asked what he remembers about his Sugar Bowl trip to the city in the 2012 season after being picked by the Saints with the 12th pick of the first round. "We were a college team, so they kind of had to keep the reins on us, so to speak. For the most part, all I remember is seeing a little bit of Bourbon Street. Other than that, I was there to play football and win a game."

And Louisville beat Florida, 33-23, on that business trip. Rankins (6-foot-1, 300 pounds), who was the first defensive tackle taken in the draft, plans on much of the same approach as a Saint.

"Intelligence," was his answer when asked what his strength is. "I'm able to understand schemes. My versatility — that's one of the things I've always hung my hat on."

I_medium The Louisville baseball team is back in action tonight with the first of three non-conference games against St. John's. First pitch at Jim Patterson is set for 6 p.m., and you can listen to all the action on 93.9 The Ville.

I_medium The Rankins pick gets a solid B+ from the fine NFL experts at SB Nation.

I_medium Gorgui statue time? Gorgui statue time.

I_medium The Louisville lacrosse team staged a furious second half rally but still fell to Notre Dame 12-10 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.

I_medium Tom Jurich and James Ramsey both spent some time with Eric Crawford to talk about the madness of the recent past and the present.

"There's a lot I'd like to say, but we can't talk about it at all," Jurich said. When asked about a timeline for the matter to wrap up, he said, "We don't have any idea at all. We're just trying to cooperate. We'd like to get it behind us, just like all of our fans would, like all of you would like us to, I wish we had more input into it, but we don't."

And because of that, the story the university would like to be putting front and center often gets crowded out. Scandals like the one facing the men's basketball team or upheaval of the kind Ramsey is dealing with often burn so hot that they consume everything else. It's a fire Jurich and Ramey are fighting daily.

Last week, U of L was ranked No. 25 nationally in the NACDA final winter Director's Cup all-sports standings, despite getting no points for men's basketball, because it was banned from the postseason. The program continues a long-range turnaround academically. At one time, the U of L men's basketball program was featured on "60 Minutes" as an example of how schools were failing athletes. Last week, Louisville's men's basketball, women's lacrosse and men's and women's golf were among programs that received public recognition from the NCAA for being among the Top 10 in the nation for the past four years in the NCAA's Academic Progress Report.

For Jurich, whose program has had no substantive NCAA issue over the past 19 years, dealing with a scandal in men's basketball that is drawing national attention has been frustrating.

"You can't go about your business," Jurich said. ". . . I think the hardest part of this thing, at least for me personally, is nobody saw it coming. This is something we would have never imagined in my wildest dreams. But it happened. . . . We want to find the truth, we want to get to the truth, we want to fix it, we want to take our medicine and we want to move forward. But it has been frustrating. I can't sit here and tell you that everything's great. The thing that frustrates me the most is I've got 22 other sports that I don't want to see neglected, because they've all done great jobs. And, you know, there's so many great stories. Every year we have more stories than we had the last year that are great, and I want to see these young people get the accolades they deserve."

I_medium St. X product and bourgeoning PGA star Justin Thomas is back in town for an event at the U of L Golf Club.

I_medium Is a decision from Christian Vital coming today? Maybe.

I_medium Sheldon Rankins has his Derby horses.

I_medium Josh Rogers' professional career is off to a rousing start.

I_medium Here's how Howard Garfinkel became the godfather of grassroots basketball.

I_medium The U of L weight room is aware of the Kentucky freshmen picture.

I_medium U of L softball is headed to Notre Dame this weekend.

I_medium I'm really hoping this is just an overly enthusiastic football fan.

I_medium Jeff Walz previews the spring and summer ahead.

I_medium The PJCS expansion has received the official nod of approval necessary to move forward.

"The University of Louisville Athletic Department has worked with an outside consultant to review the feasibility of expanded the existing stadium & outline a funding model to achieve this goal."

The End Zone will be expanded to include 12 field level suites, 70 Premium Boxes, 1000 club seats for a new club area, 10,000 seats in the lower & upper level.  The expansion will bring the capacity of PJCS to 65,000.

Additionally the project also includes the expansion of the Schnellenberger Complex which will add 40,000 square feet to the building.  The existing 30,000 square feet would also be renovated and would expand the strength room, training room, player' lounge & meeting spaces.

The ULAA approval allows Tom Jurich & the Football program the permission to move forward once they feel that the project is ready.

Jurich said yesterday that the expansion work could begin as soon as immediately following the 2016 season.

I_medium The New York Times spends 36 hours exploring Louisville.

I_medium You think you're making light of the problem, but you're actually a big part of the problem.

I_medium How screwed is Ole Miss after last night? It's the NCAA, so who knows.

I_medium Linwood Foy says he's still committed to Louisville.

I_medium And finally, R&R is on from 3-5:45 today before we toss the mic to U of L baseball. Listen here.