clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Kaitlan, Krista and Kaelyn Harris are celebrating the 50 days until kickoff mile-marker by spreading the good word in Cozumel, Mexico.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

I_medium Fifty days until kickoff. Fifty. Anyone can get through 50 days. Don't be afraid to use booze.

I_medium Adam Duvall went 0-for-1 with a groundout and a walk in his first All-Star game appearance. Duvall's groundout and Jay Bruce's strikeout means that Cincinnati Reds players are 0 for their last 24 in All-Star Game plate appearances.

Aside from that, though, things are going pretty well for the franchise.

I_medium Glorious.

I_medium Pro Football Focus says Lamar Jackson is the third-best running quarterback in college football.

3. Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals

Jackson figures to be at the top of many breakout player lists this offseason, and even though he graded very poorly as a passer last season (he tied with Penn State's Christian Hackenberg at No. 130 of 157 qualifying QBs in PFF passing grade), it's easy to see why: He is one of the top running threats in all of college football. No QB with 100 or more rushes had a higher yards per carry average than Jackson's 8.1 last season, and he looked more like a running back or wide receiver than a quarterback once he got into the open field, using his combination of vision, elusiveness and breakaway speed to produce huge gains. The majority of his carries came on designed runs, and he's clearly a weapon when keeping on read-option plays, but he was perhaps most dangerous when he scrambled after the play broke down. Of his 37 forced missed tackles last season, 20 came on scrambles.

Houston's Greg Ward Jr. is No. 1, and Ohio State's J.T. Barrett is No. 2.

I_medium The Shutdown Fullcast folks tackle a handful of teams in this week's podcast, including Louisville.

I_medium Paul Finebaum and Nick Saban getting into it off-air is the storyline SEC media days needed.

I_medium Cards love Cane's.

I_medium Jeff Greer continues his summer profiles with a closer look at Ray Spalding.

I_medium Lamar Jackson's play will determine whether or not Louisville's preseason hype winds up being justified.

Defenders also have to respect Jackson's speed on the read option. The genuine threat he poses on the ground helps the Cardinals win the numbers game in the box.

Although the offensive line is a weakness, the Cardinals have the playmakers to help their young QB succeed. Senior wide receiver Jamari Staples and tight end Cole Hikutini have the talent with the ball in hand to ease the burden on Jackson. Staples recorded a +12.2 receiving grade from just 248 routes in 2015, averaging 2.57 yards per passing snap (26th amongst Power-5 receivers). Hikutini, meanwhile, ranked tenth in overall grade amongst FBS tightends. He came into his element toward the end of the year, finishing with 19 catches on 27 targets for 348 yards, and three touchdowns. The explosive tight end finished third in yards per route run from the position, averaging 2.49 yards per snap.

Jackson remains some distance from a polished quarterback, but the four-star recruit possesses all the physical traits to develop into an exceptional signal-caller. His development as a passer will be key to Louisville's success in 2016. Dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks like North Carolina's Marquise Williams have thrived recently in the ACC — Jackson might be next in line.

I_medium Scheduling updates and announced matchups for all the November college hoops tournaments can be found here.

I_medium U of L has announced that the 2016 Cardinal football Kickoff Luncheon sold out this year in record time.

I_medium This story on what Ricky Williams is up to these days (spoiler: a great deal of it involves weed) is extremely well done.

I_medium The ACC Digital Network has Lamar Jackson as the third-best quarterback in the conference behind Deshaun Watson and Brad Kaya.

I_medium Louisville baseball lost its top incoming recruit because the Mets hit him with a million dollar offer at the 11th hour.

I_medium ESPN previews how things are gong to go for Louisville at the ACC Kickoff next week.

Question: Is this the year you guys take the next step and supplant Clemson and Florida State in the Atlantic?

How we think he'll answer: Clemson and Florida State have been the class of the league for some time, but we're excited about the progress we've made going into Year 3 here under this regime. We have talent all across the offensive side of the ball, and our defense should once again be one of the best in the league. I tell the guys all the time, just take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

How we wish he'd answer: We let Clemson off the hook my first two years here, and we get Florida State at home this year. Win just one of those, hope the team we beat then beats the other, then do a lot of scoreboard watching at the end of the year. Sure, why not us this year?

I_medium Today's U says that Louisville has the star power that Charlie Strong desperately needs at Texas.

I_medium Sports Illustrated takes a look at Nanu's underhanded free-throw shooting style.

Long after the underhanded free throw's heyday in the 1950s, only two players in the NCAA utilized the technique last season: Onuaku and Rick Barry's youngest son, Canyon. In this sports era of branding, poor free throw shooters like DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard and Andre Drummond wouldn't dare adopt a motion more affiliated with grandmothers than NBA basketball players. It's what makesOnuaku a modern pioneer.

"A lot of guys probably feel like coming out here in this NBA setting, ‘I'm not gonnashoot that. I'm scared of guys laughing at me,'​" said Montrezl Harrell, a 53.3% foul shooter at Louisville. The two Cardinals have now reunited in Houston. "But he went to the free throw line, he stuck to his free throw routine and he shot it. He shot his shot."

"I really don't care what people think," Onuaku said. "As long as I get a bucket, I'm fine."

I_medium Both U of L and Bellarmine make the cut on Forbes' "Top Colleges" list.

I_medium Yet another Cardinal is headed to the Olympics.

I_medium Well done, gents.

I_medium A look at Thanksgiving Week, 2016

Weds-Friday: Cardianal basketball in the Battle 4 Atlantis

Thursday: Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings take on the Lions

Saturday: Battle for the Governor's Cup football game against Kentucky

I will be thankful for the sports boner I'll have the whole week.

I_medium Jamari Staples was quietly a monster in the last half of 2015.

I_medium I really, really enjoy this.

I_medium How often do college basketball coaches play players who have two first half fouls? NBC examines.

I_medium I really want to like this map because it has Louisville as the most popular football team in Kentucky, but it also has UAB as the most popular team in Alabama which seems really, really, extremely incorrect.

I_medium When's the last time England even made a bowl?

I_medium The Jets have extremely high expectations for Lorenzo Mauldin in 2016.

I_medium And finally, the R&R summer tour rolls on from 3-6 today. We'll talk Terry Rozier's big summer, other brilliant movies John's never seen, and how to kill the time for the next 50 days. Listen here.