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Tag: Louisville football

Drones coming soon to a University of Louisville athletic event near you

August 19, 2014 4 Comments

drone over pjcs

Look. Up in the sky.

The drones are coming and they’re going to provide some new perspectives on University of Louisville football and other sports. The athletic department has acquired at least two drones and is eager to put them to work.

In fact, one of them took its inaugural flight prior to the UofL football scrimmage last Saturday (see video below), sweeping high above the playing field before most of the crowd of approximately 1,500 fans had arrived.  Just a test run, mind you, because Bobby Petrino would not want any surprises during football practice.

Nick Stover

Nick Stover

Nick Stover, director of social media for the athletic department, says the drones could become a frequent sight at games. But first he and his team have to become more familiar with the drones and any applicable laws.

“They’re still a fairly new phenomenon to civilians so we’re contacting the FAA and other agencies,” he said. “We have a lot of ideas we are exploring.”

Stover plans to showcase the new soccer stadium, Card March during football games, and dozens of other events. He says the football team has the other drone, which could be used to evaluate football practice sessions. Whether they will ever replace the towers on the practice field is another question.

The drones are equipped with Go Pro cameras  and are white Phantom 2 models manufactured by a company called DJI in Los Angeles, which offers about a dozen choices. They have four rotor blades, resembling a small helicopter.

Watch out for one above you at an upcoming game.

UofL’s Charles Gaines always up — on or off the field

August 17, 2014 1 Comment

Charles-Gaines

Who is Charles Gaines, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior who plays cornerback for the University of Louisville football team?

An individual who was keeping some of his teammates and other onlookers in stitches during Saturday’s scrimmage at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. One who isn’t bashful about his own accomplishments and unrestrained from pointing out flaws in his teammates. One who is constantly talking, endlessly, on and on.

Charles-Gaines-3

Coach Bobby Petrino, knowing the players listen to Gaines, pay attention to all the chatter and respect him for his abilities, joining the coaches and players in making Gaines one of the five co-captains. Former coach Charlie Strong wasn’t so appreciative of the hyper activity, benching Gaines the last five games of his freshman season.

Gaines is one of the quickest players on the team, clocked at a speed of 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash during pre-season workouts. After finishing second to Corvin Lamb in the 40-yard workouts, he said, “Muhammad Ali lost, too, but he’s still the greatest.”

(What’s up with all the formality anyway, Charles? Every Charles I’ve ever known preferred being Charlie.)

He would be a threat to score on either offense or defense, Petrino deciding cornerback was where he could best contribute this season. Don’t be surprised, however, if he returns a few kicks this season or winds up in an offensive formation. Just too much speed and maneuverability to be ignored.

He scored three touchdowns last season, including a kick return, an interception return and a blocked punt return. In his first full season on the defensive side,  recording 22 tackles and leading the team in interceptions with five picks, including four in the last six games.Charles-Gaines-2

The Miami native, a product of Miami Central, helped his high school team win the 6-A state title with a crucial interception and subsequent touchdown return during his senior year. 

Gaines is a natural-born entertainer, whether he’s in the game or on the bench, a sideshow all to himself. He’s good, knows it and expects to excel on the field. Watch for him to take his act to a new level this season.

Campus Insider: Gardner may be better than Bridgewater

August 15, 2014 1 Comment

At least one analyst believes Will Gardner will be better than Teddy Bridgewater was at the University of Louisville.

Will Gardner

Will Gardner

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.

Petrino endured snow storm to recruit Kelby Johnson

August 14, 2014 0 Comments

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.

Kelby Johnson

Kelby Johnson

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.”

ASA College domitory

ASA College

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.”

Louisville’s Michael Bush looking for a home in the NFL

August 8, 2014 0 Comments

Michael Bush, former University of Louisville running back, is still looking for a home as the National Football League enters the exhibition season. There’s a possibility he could wind up with the New York Giants.

The Giants are currently missing their top two running back, with injuries to Peyton Hillis and David Wilson, and are lacking backps with significant NFL experience.

MIchael Bush

MIchael Bush

Bush, one of the more powerful players in UofL history, has had a spotty NFL career thus far and needs a lucky break.

He was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders, but had to sit out his first season because the injury he incurred in the first game of his junior year against Kentucky wasn’t fully healed. Bush returned to the field in 2008 and, during four seasons with the Raiders, he rushed for 1,424 yards and scored 21 touchdowns.

He wound up with the Chicago Bears in 2012, signing a contract worth $14 millon. During two seasons he ran for 608 yards and scored eight touchdowns. However, he sustained a rib injury and was placed on the injury reserve list in December. He was released by the Bears and is currently a free agent.

At 30 years old, Bush is already considered past his prime as a running back. But at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, he has good hands is considered a reliable goal-line option, almost like a freight train — impossible to stop when he gets going.

*    *    *

Jeff Walz may have a shot at landing Asia Durr who is considered by many analysts to be the No. 1 prospect in the 2015 women’s college basketball recruiting class,. The 5-foot-10 point guard from Douglasville, Ga., is also considering Notre Dame, Baylor, Duke and Maryland.

Terry Durr, her father told Cardinal Authority:  “We like what coach (Jeff) Walz has built. He’s put them on the map. They play in front of a lot of people and they play in a great conference. Asia’s goal is to get to college and win a championship and she feels like she can be the missing piece at Louisville and help them win a title.”

Petrino gets first look at Louisville football team

August 5, 2014 0 Comments

Bobby-Petrino-2

Fall football camp finally got under way Tuesday at the University of Louisville under partially clouded skies and 90 degree temperatures. The real thing after seven months of strength training and individual workouts.

Bobby Petrino is in his element, running his usual tightly controlled operation, totally focused, demanding maximum effort, determined to make every minute count. Raising his voice only a couple of times this day, expecting the same kind of focus from his players.

The coach allowing more media access to his team than his successor, actually permitting scribes access to the second practice field to get a close-up look at the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. No photos permitted during some drills but having access is a breath of fresh air, a welcome change. Some observations:

Kyle Bolin

Kyle Bolin

– Somewhat surprising to see Kyle Bolin trading snaps with Will Gardner at quarterback during the afternoon session. While Bolin’s right knee was heavily taped from an operation on a torn meniscus this summer, Bolin appeared to have relatively good mobility and arm strength.

– Appears to be more than the normal amount of dropped passes and interceptions during position workouts, with cornerback Charles Gaines responsible for a couple of thefts. Gaines eager to celebrate, needling the wide receivers and quarterbacks, at one point directing some mild harassment toward James Quick for a muffled pass. Maybe the pass coverage is better than expected, given all the concern up to now. First day of practice too early to draw any conclusions.

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Petrino has game face on preparing for Louisville fall football camp

August 4, 2014 0 Comments

The Bobby Petrino at Monday’s press conference more closely resembled the individual who ran the University of Louisville football program seven years ago, with the look of a man eager for fall football camp to begin.

The forced smile UofL fans have become accustomed to over the past seven months was not in evidence. Wearing a black Adidas pullover, Petrino only used the word “excited” twice. Sitting at a table with his hands clasped together, thumbs extended upward, Petrino had that familiar no-nonsense stare and monotone voice, obviously wanting to dispense with the formalities and get back to work.

Bobby Petrino

Bobby Petrino

Petrino knows the transition period for new coaches can sometimes be difficult, and it’s probably one of the more serious challenges the program faces, with an entire staff of new coaches, new offensive and defensive schemes, and the level of difficulties inherent in moving to a more prestigious conference. He said has been very encouraged with the early stages of transition, however.

“I compare it to when I was here the first time after John L (Smith),” he said. “We have a group of guys who know how to work hard, have positive attitudes, and are used to winning games. I’ve been very pleased with how we’ve made the transition. When I first talked to them, I congratulated them on how well they’ve played and the success they’ve had. I told them there would be some changes in coaching styles … but the quicker we adapt to change, the better chance we have to be a championship team. The internal leadership has been great.”

Immediate concerns include quarterback, the depth of the offensive line and the inexperience of the safeties. He was impressed by Will Gardner’s performance in the spring game and is looking forward to competition for the backup position. He said he feels better about the depth on the offensive line and safety positions than when he first arrived.

He noted that the majority of players who missed spring practice because of injuries or operations, including Lorenzo Maulding, are good to go as fall practice begins. The major exception is Jermain Reve who was injured in April and is still recovering. A cornerback last fall, Reve was moved to safety in the spring.

Although Petrino doesn’t voluntarily share a lot of information, he is very direct when answering questions, providing information that provides much more perspective than his predecessor.

But like Jake Smith, the senior center who followed Petrino at the press conference, said while the current and former coaches may go about things a little differently, they know what they’re doing. “We have great respect for both,” he said.

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