Louisville offense clicks during scrimmage

scrimmage-DeVante-Parker-3DeVante Parker eludes the outstretched arms of Andrew Johnson after catching a pass from Will Gardner that was good for 30-plus yards.

The last public look at the University of Louisville football team before the season opener, an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday to give Bobby Petrino and approximately 2,000 fans a look at how far this team has progressed during fall camp.

No one was operating the scoreboard, but there were a few take-aways:

— Will Gardner has a commanding presence at quarterback, his 6-foot-5 frame suiting him well, able to see over the defense and with the arm strength to reach any target within 50 yards of the line of scrimmage. He’s a natural for the position, a threat defenders will have to take very seriously at all times.

Tom Jurich and Rocco Gasparo watch the action.
Tom Jurich and Rocco Gasparro watch the action.

— DeVante Parker will catch almost any ball thrown in his direction, if even on a second or third bounce. Opposing safeties had better stick with him even after they’ve batted the ball. He doesn’t give up easily, going for the tips, never quitting. Good for multiple catches Saturday and big chunks of gains.

— Brett Nelson, a 6-foot-4 reserve signal caller from California, displays confidence at the position as well. If he weren’t a senior, Nelson would be a leading contender for the backup position. He and wide receiver Kai De La Cruz were good for  a 50-yard pass play. No reason to despair if things don’t work out with the quarterbacks in front of him.

— Reggie Bonnafon, the freshman quarterback from Trinity, hooked up with sophomore James Quick for a 35-yard touchdown, providing a preview of things to come over the next few seasons. Both are naturally gifted, just waiting for the game to come to them, as it will soon enough.

— The play of the day was an 65-yard pass combination from Bonnafon to wide receiver Matt Milton, catching a 40-yard spiral on his way to the end zone. Milton, a 6-foot-5 senior, is a solid athlete and will see the end zone quite a bit this season.

— Michael Dyer, with legs the size of an ox and the speed of a thoroughbred, will get a lot of calls when UofL gets inside the 10-yard line. He bruised his knee Saturday but should return quickly.

— Corvin Lamb, the fastest player on the team, is healthy as he enters his junior season. If he stays that way, fans can see a return of some actual kickoff highlights this season after an absence of the past four seasons.

— Coach Petrino may have found his starting left tackle in Kevin Mack, convincing him that he has fully recovered from the leg injury that sideline him last season. Kelby Johnson saw only sparring duty during the scrimmage.

— Luke Brohm, the cousin of Brian, Jeff and Greg, is continuing the Brohm family tradition, the redshirt junior playing fullback during the scrimmage. He pulled in a pass as well, wanting to prove another Brohm can contribute to this team’s success.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.