—Tom Jurich shot some extreme praise in the direction of Lamar Jackson during this afternoon’s U of L Football Kickoff Luncheon.
—Steve Jones lays out five key questions for the upcoming Louisville football season.
5. How good can this season be?
The three-game losing streak to end last season sapped a lot of the satisfaction out of what was otherwise a memorable year. Had Louisville beaten Houston, Kentucky or LSU, it likely would have started 2017 in the preseason top 10. As it is, the Cards are No. 17 in the USA TODAY Amway Coaches Poll, and U of L is widely regarded as the clear No. 3 team in the ACC Atlantic once again. But, as my accompanying game-by-game predictions show, I think Louisville is a little better than last year with a little easier schedule, setting the Cards up to have potentially a huge regular season. Other than Clemson and Florida State, Louisville has no other ranked teams on the schedule. The bottom half of the Atlantic Division is simply not that good, and neither is Coastal foe Virginia. North Carolina lost a lot of playmakers, and though the NC State Thursday night road game will be tricky, the Wolfpack was whipped by Louisville last year. Out of conference, the Cards have essentially replaced a killer Thursday road game against Houston with a neutral-site opener against Purdue, which is a 25-point underdog. The key will be to avoid losing a game U of L is supposed to win, like last year's UK upset. If it does, Louisville could easily get 10 or more wins and end up in a major bowl.
—Marvin Bagley committed to Duke last night while also announcing that he plans to reclassify and be eligible to play next season. That’s a big deal.
—CBS’ updated college hoops rankings have Louisville at No. 6 and Kentucky at No. 7. Duke is now No. 1.
—Cardale Jones is now in favor of playing school.
—Art Carmody forever.
In honor of the 18 days left til kickoff, here are the Beiting Bros taking the 2017 Summer Tour to Wildwood, NJ where UofL represented well. pic.twitter.com/azuo1PIC28— pb (@youknowmepb) August 15, 2017
—Joker Phillips, who is now coaching wide receivers at Cincinnati, says he wasn’t given enough time to put together a winner at Kentucky.
—Pat Forde says Lamar Jackson might be the most under-appreciated Heisman Trophy winner of all-time.
So the raw ability to throw is not a concern. And the knowledge of the position is improving. According to one NFL scout, the greatest concern may be Jackson’s slight physique. In a league where many of the top quarterbacks are at least 225 pounds, Jackson needs to bulk up.
“I think he’s already shown that he can be drafted based off the Clemson game,” the scout said, referring to Jackson’s 457 total yards against the eventual national champions. “They’re going to worry about his size. Can he hold up? Is he big enough? He’s a slimmer build. He has physical talent, drive and ability to play in big games. Teams want to see how much does he really weigh.”
The answer, according to Jackson, is 212 pounds. That’s up at least 10 from last year, and the weight is needed to withstand the hits he took while running the ball 260 times in 2016.
Jackson’s NFL readiness will be hotly debated throughout the upcoming season. Just don’t expect him to be part of the debate.
“I can’t say nothing,” Jackson said. “You can’t worry about that. I’m not in the NFL. I’m playing quarterback at Louisville.”
He played it at a Heisman-winning level last year. But Lamar Jackson somehow still has a lot to prove to a nation that seems to have forgotten how good he was.
—100 Things Louisville Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die drops exactly two months from today.
—TNIAAM ranks ACC programs based on their city’s top craft brewery, and Louisville checks in at No. 2.
2. Louisville Cardinals: Against the Grain
The Cards drop just one from the top spot from last year, still proving that this is not just a bourbon city (though they’re quite good at that). Against the Grain’s located at Louisville Slugger Field and churns out some of the top beers in the state, including Bo & Luke, one of my own personal favorite brews — and an excellent Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. Several other darker options (and some of the hoppier stuff too) is also worth your time.
Wake Forest is No. 1. The rivalry continues.
—Since the MLB All-Star break, former Card and current Yankee Chad Green has struck out an MLB-best 49.2% (32-of-65) of his batters faced.
—Asia Durr dropped a team-high 16 points as Jeff Walz’s Team USA downed Japan to claim the Four Nations championship.
—U of L volleyball is excited to be playing inside Cardinal Arena this fall.
.@UofLVolleyball's @danib18 & @mollysauer1 are excited to be playing in Cardinal Arena this season! #L1C4 --> https://t.co/7yD5ymRXjb pic.twitter.com/HaapyL6WAL— Spectrum Sports KY (@SpecSportsKY) August 15, 2017
—Jordan Fair doesn’t even have a damn profile picture but he’s the third-best recruiting assistant in college basketball right now.
—Lonnie Galloway talks about the strength in numbers that Louisville has at the wide receiver position.
NEWS: As season opener approaches, @UofLFootball knows it has strength in numbers, talent at wide receiver. #L1C4 https://t.co/JmEHeeB9eY pic.twitter.com/WPcROeT1Uo— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) August 15, 2017
—Yahoo lays out the 25 most intriguing quarterbacks of the college football season ahead. Louisville’s signal caller is on the list.
—Andrea Adelson discusses the reinvention of Lamar Jackson.
The reinvention of Lamar Jackson began with breakfast -- specifically, getting Jackson to actually eat a full breakfast. Jackson needed more calories, no small task for a picky eater. The Louisville support staff knew he loved eggs. The solution: steak, egg and cheese burritos to boost his calorie intake just before workouts.
But why, exactly, did Jackson need reinventing? Jackson gained more than 5,000 yards and accounted for 51 touchdowns to become the youngest Heisman Trophy winner in history. Yet the final three games of Louisville's 2016 campaign featured ugly losses to Houston, Kentucky and LSU. Jackson was sacked 22 times and had five total touchdowns in those games, causing him to register as an afterthought heading into this season.
"We didn't finish last year," he said. "A lot of people have seen that, and feel like we quit. It wasn't right. I'm still hot about that. I don't like that. I'm just teed off about it. I can't wait to play."
—North Carolina will appear before the NCAA committee on infractions Wednesday.
—Class of 2018 basketball standout Darius Days will visit Louisville in September.
—You were the most important to me, Josh.
So, I got married and wasn't even the most popular person at the reception! Thanks to my wife and @GoCards for making it a great experience! pic.twitter.com/AHY912j1H8— Josh Howard (@JsHwrdul) August 14, 2017
—Virginia Tech has announced its starting quarterback.
—A guy almost won $2 million by correctly picking the winner of each of golf’s four major tournaments this year. Only Rickie Fowler at the British Open let him down.
—Get to know Cardinal freshman Jordan Nwora.
In this week's edition of Beat the Buzzer, we sit down with Jordan Nwora. Get to know to another member of the Cards incoming class ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/b9y4mO0l97— Louisville Athletics (@GoCards) August 15, 2017
—Louisville’s Mallory Comerford might be the next great American freestyle swimmer.
—And finally, The Palm Beach Post takes a look at Jarrett Jackson’s commitment to Louisville.