Tag: Louisville football
Crystal clear, sunny, 75 degrees, perfect day for the University of Louisville spring football game.
Celebrating spring, reuniting with old friends, enjoying no parking restrictions, packing the Green and Bronze lots, parking as close to the tunnel as possible.
More than 16,000 fans on hand at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. More than ready for some football, the amplifiers going full blast for tailgating, screams piercing the air from the thrill rides, corn dogs being devoured in the carnival area. People of all ages, each seemingly wearing unique Cardinal gear.
The Red Rage Tailgate team was there, James Durst, Josh Stinson and Dave Magee with their converted bus, welcoming dozens of UofL fans. Free Bloody Mary’s, mixed drinks, doughnuts topping a full menu of early morning food. Invited any and all UofL fans to stop by, talk Cardinal sports. These guys live for football and tailgating, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
Besides quenching their thirst for tailgating, fans were eager to see Quarterback Lamar Jackson in action again. All those wide receivers, the running backs, a maturing offensive line, and all the players on defense who passed up the NFL draft to play UofL football another year.
Lamar Jackson would not disappoint, throwing for 519 yards and eight touchdowns, leading the Red team to a 73-7 victory over the White team in the annual Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Spring Game.
Jackson completed 24 of his 29 passes, including an 85-yard strike to James Quick toward the end of the second quarter. Jackson capped the half with a 54-yard score to Jamari Staples, his third touchdown pass of at least 40 yards. Quick, looking better than ever, with five catches for 152 yards.
Wide receiver Jaylen Smith also had five receptions, finishing with 99 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Cole Hikutini, who was on the receiving end of Jackson’s first two touchdown passes, an eight-yarder and a seven-yarder. He logged 75 yards.
On defense, Stacy Thomas and Chucky Williams each had a Red-team best seven tackles, with Thomas recording 2.5 for loss.
A great day to be a UofL football fan. Click on photos below for a sampling.
The best news in a few weeks for University of Louisville fans is that Tom Jurich remains aggressive and totally committed.
With all the noxious fumes emanating from the basketball scandal and the attacks on President Jim Ramsey, the University of Louisville’s athletic director had been quiet for a while. Publicly, anyway. But he has obviously been busy behind the scenes.
Jurich broke the silence on Thursday, announcing a new seven-year contract extension for head football coach Bobby Petrino worth $30.625 million and averaging $4.375 million per season. He also updated fans on the $55 million expansion plan for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, reporting that almost $20 million has been raised, suggesting the stadium could possibly be completed in time for the 2018 season.
He obviously recognizes the importance of a successful football program to the university’s overall image, and will continue to be aggressive in ensuring that UofL will be a contender, not only in the Atlantic Coast Conference but on the national scene as well.
UofL’s athletic program has come a long way since the late Harry Jones was able to convince Jurich to come to Louisville in 1997. Were it not for Jones’ persistence — TJ turned him down four or five times — Jurich would still be out west. Colorado State, no doubt, would be in the Power 5 conference, celebrating numerous expansions and titles, instead of the obscurity the Mountain West Conference.
All of the turbulence engulfing UofL the past several months has had to have an effect on Jurich. Two of his closest associates — Jim Ramsey and Rick Pitino — have been under constant attack. If ever there was a time for him to consider other options, no one would have blamed him if he had chosen to do so. He had to hurt personally by the sex scandal within the basketball program and mystified at the illogical attacks on a school administrator who has done wonders for the university, rivaling what Tom has done within the athletic program.
One also has to believe that he remains as privately supportive of Ramsey as he is publicly of his basketball coach.
Back in February, however, Jurich dismissed speculation that he had any interest in a vacancy at the University of Southern California, one of the most prestigious jobs in college athletics. “People say what they want because I’m from there . . . I’m staying right where I am,” he told a local TV station.
There will always be speculation in sports, but one has every reason to believe Jurich when he says he loves the University of Louisville, calling his current position the best job in college athletics. He has made possible some tremendous highs for the school while experiencing more than his share of extreme lows at the university.
Tom Jurich obviously has even bigger plans for the university.
The natural target date for the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium has always been September 2019 when the University of Louisville and Notre Dame football team are scheduled to collide at PJCS.
Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich said Thursday that UofL has raised approximately $20 million. That’s $12 million more than was announced on Feb. 4, when UofL announced that $8 million had been pledged. That included corporate sponsorships of $5 million from Pepsi and $3 million from Planet Fitness.
Now comes the grind, shaking the bushes for the additional $30 million to make the expansion of the stadium a reality. Tom, along with his son Mark, who heads up the fund raising effort, are confident the project will happen. They indicated that expansion was likely to begin when they have raised at least half of the money.
UofL has commitments for all 12 of the premium boxes and about half of the 70 exclusive club level suites.
They indicated that the project was inevitable when they had raised at least of the money. Construction could possibly begin at the end of the 2016 season and be completed in time for the 2018 season.
Something to keep an eye on during spring training at the University of Louisville football complex.
Some changes are coming to one of football’s most basic elements, hopefully making the game safer for the players. There appears to be an irreversible shift toward tacklers aiming their shoulders, rugby-style, instead of their heads to bring down ball carriers.
The tackling technique begins in the weight room during the off-season, with players lifting weights under supervision three times per week. One of those exercises is the development of neck muscles, with players lifting 25-pound weights via a harness attached to their heads. This is why you see former football players with such wide necks. A strong muscular neck helps to prevent broken necks.
Traditionally tacklers have been taught to put their head and facemask on the ball carrier’s breastbone, wrapping their arms and hands around the ball carrier’s legs and beneath his butt, lifting upward and driving the ball carrier downward towards the ground.
Rugby tackling however, places emphasis on tackling with the shoulder into a ball carrier’s stomach area. The tackler still must be in a correct football ready position, head-up and focusing on the belt buckle area. The object is to shift focus from the ball carrier’s breastbone area to the ball carrier’s stomach area. Lowering the hit area alone should decrease concussions.
As UofL’s Bobby Petrino told a local columnist in March, “It truly is safe. . .The difference is more emphasis on tackling with your shoulder and not your head and, once you make contact, rolling. I think they did take it from the rugby game.”
If this tackling technique does away with some concussions or destroyed knees, everyone should embrace the change.
Looking down the road, navigating that collision course.
The University of Louisville Athletic Association has entered into discussions with football coach Bobby Petrino’s to extend his contract on a long-term basis. Terms are being negotiated by the attorneys, but UofL fans are eager to have Petrino around as long as possible.
On extending Petrino’s contract, Tom Jurich, vice president of athletics, said, “I just think he has done a great job.”
“He’s exceeded all my expectations when we brought him back. I knew he had a difficult proposition in front of him – certainly not from a talent standpoint – when he got here, but moving into a new league was a big upgrade for us.
“I’m very pleased with the direction we’re going, and I think we’re really poised for a great future with him.”
The Cardinals have high expectations on the heels of last year’s 8-5 season and the Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M. Louisville has been included in numerous preseason top 25 forecasts. However, the most backed teams don’t always win, raising the possibility of UofL making it into the playoffs.
Again next season, the toughest two opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference are included among the first five games – Florida State on Sept. 17 and Clemson on Oct. 1st. They, along with Houston, are considered national contenders.
“We have six teams who played in bowl games last season and three teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25,” said Petrino in a statement to the press.
He welcomes the challenges, however. “We have a lot of work to do before we start playing games, but with an experienced team returning, they understand the challenges ahead of them and know what preparation is needed to be a successful football team.”
Louisville will kickoff the 2016 season against Charlotte on Sept. 1 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.