Petrino ignites fireworks at Louisville spring game

James Quick scores quickly on a 62-yard pass play.
James Quick scores quickly on a Will Gardner pass play covering 62 yards. 

A game day feel to this year’s University of Louisville football spring game, the Green Lot already two-thirds full two hours before kickoff, many fans more than ready to tailgate again, hyped up, eager to experience Bobby Petrino-style football again.

An estimated 27,500 of them showing up at Papa John’s Cardinals stadium expecting an explosive offensive display and they wouldn’t be disappointed.  Too many to count wearing T-shirts proclaiming, “Bobby is Back!” Just couldn’t wait for the fireworks to begin.

They weren’t alone, with many former UofL football players returning for the game, proclaiming how exciting they were about the return of an offensive genius at the helm. Among them Doug Beaumont, a Petrino recruit, who had to wait until his senior season to score a touchdown.

They wouldn’t have to wait long, quarterback Will Gardner connecting with wide receiver James Quick on a 62-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Also answering a couple of questions about a couple of players who saw limited action last season.

Yes, Gardner can pass and, oh my, Quick looked as good as he looked in high school. Gardner completed 32 of 37 pass attempts for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Quick would make five catches, good for 152 yards.

Any questions about Michael Dyer were answered, too. The second year transfer with the Clydesdale thighs from Auburn is going to be a work horse in the Petrino system. Petrino liked him so much he used him on both teams, Dyer rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries for the Red team, and 51 yards on four carries and still another touchdown for the Red team. He was also good for 25 yards on a  pass.

L. J. Scott, an impressive freshman running back who never stops churning, saw action on both the starting and second teams, rushing for a total of 128 yards in 19 carries and a touchdown. He may be a backup but he’s going to see a lot of action in Petrino’s high-scoring offense.

Dominique Brown, who has nothing to prove to Petrino or anybody else, was used sparingly, with 31 yards in six carries and a touchdown. Petrino know what he has in Dominique, wanting to see more of Dyer and Scott, we suspect.

DeVanta Parker picking up where he left off, with 10 receptions for 109 yards. Eli Rogers with six catches for 109 yards. But Gerald Christian with eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Plenty of targets to go around for Will Gardner.

The grind-it-out, run-out-the-clock, protect-the-lead, wake-me-when-it’s-over approach of the past four seasons has departed for Texas. The scoreboard is going to get a workout in 2015.

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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.