DeVante 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.
– 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.
The demolition crew apparently has taken the weekend off after battling the mighty silos on the University of Louisville campus all week. The number of silos still standing is now down to 11 from the 22 that have finally met their match after withstanding anything and everything man and Mother Nature could throw at them for over 100 years at the Floyd Street location.
At least one analyst believes Will Gardner will be better than Teddy Bridgewater was at the University of Louisville.
Campus Insiders’ Rich Cirminiello took up the argument that Louisville quarterback Will Gardner will outplay Teddy Bridgewater, year over year, attempting to convince his disbelieving co-workers.
If his assessment eventually proves to be accurate, one would have to heavily factor Bobby Petrino’s approach to offensive football into the equation. Check out the Campus Insider video at http://ow.ly/AlbgQ.
One of Bobby Petrino’s immediate concerns upon returning to the University of Louisville was the lack of depth on the offensive line, especially at right tackle, a position almost considered a liability at times last season. It’s an issue he’s still focused on resolving.
Remember the game against Cincinnati when Teddy Bridgewater was running for his life? The Bearcats defense dominated the offensive line, sacking Bridgewater three times, forcing three hurried throws and chalking up seven tackles for losses. Some memorable and still unbelievable Teddy heroics turned the game in Louisville’s favor.
Petrino apparently has yet to settle on a starter, trying a number of players at the position. One of them includes Kelby Johnson, a 6-foot-7, 299-pound transfer from Bowie, Maryland. Johnson played four games as true freshman at Virginia.
The UofL coach went through great lengths last winter to get Johnson to Louisville.
Petrino was recruiting in sunny Tampa recruiting when he received a call from Offensive Line Coach Chris Klenakis. He asked Petrino if there was any chance he could get to Brooklyn, New York to see a player at ASA College, a junior college Petrino had never heard of.
“Coach K told me he was really interested in Louisville,” he said. “So I worked it out and flew in there in a snow storm. After we landed, I got out the GPS and it said ASA was nine miles away. I thought nine miles would be a piece of cake.”
Because of the icy conditions, however, the nine-mile journey would take 45 minutes. “Then when I got there, I couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere. One minute I would be a half a mile away and, all of sudden, I was four miles away. I finally parked down by the Barkley Center and ended up walking two miles, with no jacket on, in a snow storm.”
“The dorms they live in were part of an old state mental institution, a little bit of ‘One few over the Cuckoo’s nest.’ But I finally to visit with Kelby, he really liked us and wanted to play for us.”
Coach Klenakis would make a follow up visit the next week, taking advantage of a tip from Petrino. “When you get there, just take a cab and have them drop you off in front of the mental institution.”
The silos are not going down easily on the recently-acquired University of Louisville acreage. As of Wednesday, a total of nine of the 22 behemoths had crumbled beneath the jaws of the demolition equipment. There were two rows of them so progress is difficult to ascertain for I-65 drivers passing by the demolition site. It’s a slow methodical process with deconstruction crews using equipment that crushes the side of each silo piece by piece. The deadline for completion of the project is October 30.
What’s Jock Sutherland up to these days? The former analyst and color man for University of Louisville basketball broadcasts is enjoying life at 86 years old, playing golf and living in Nicholasville, Ky. Jock, seen with his son Charlie, was captain of a team that finished in first place in the annual UofL Press Box scramble at the UofL Golf Club on Monday, finishing seven under par on the newly renovated course in Simpsonville. Another member of the team was Spencer Kietzman from ESPN 680.
Jock worked or WHAS Radio for 20 years beside Van Vance and then Paul Rogers. Following Louisville’s 1986 NCAA basketball championship, he wrote a 364-page book entitled, “Every Step of the Way,” chronicling many of the highlights, the ups and downs, and hilarious asides during that memorable season.
During his coaching career, Jock took three different schools to the state high school basketball tournament, including Gallatin County in 1959, Harrison County in 1966, and Lexington Lafayette in 1979. These days he says playing golf and watching UofL basketball are “neck and neck” when it comes to his favorite activities.
Another day, another media tour of a new athletic facility at the University of Louisville.
This one the lavish $17 million Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium, which is already the premiere college stadium in the United States — a facility so nice that it’s going to become an instant tourist attraction when construction is completed on August 27. Another incredible accomplishment among many for Tom Jurich.
The mammoth video board, which is 49 feet wide and 26 1/2 feet high, was being tested during a media tour of the facility on Tuesday. With a viewing surface of 3,000 square feet, larger than this observer’s house, it is among the largest in the UofL’s growing inventory of video tools.
Equally impressive, however, will be the advertising dash boards (or ribbons) that extend from the centers of the end zones and along the east side of the field. Safe to say, there will be few, if any, college soccer fields with such a dazzling video arsenal. As UofL College Women’s Soccer Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes noted during the press conference, it will definitely be a distraction for visiting teams this fall.