Petrino excited as fall camp begins, really

Bobby Petrino has been everywhere the past two weeks, talking up University of Louisville football, indicating that he’s eagerly anticipating the 2015 season.

And, yes, he is excited. Always the first thing he says, about being excited, how loves this group of players, the attitude, the leadership, the commitment and the good work ethic. One last press conference on Wednesday. The talking is behind him now, with fall football camp opening on Thursday.

Video from TheCrunchzone

Jawon Pass picks the Louisville hat

At the big announcement Thursday, Jawon Pass kept shuffling the hats on the table in front of him, hats from Louisville, Alabama and Auburn. He seemed to give the UofL hat a little extra care, placing it in the middle.

Over the past few months, Pass had received offers from 20 schools, arriving at his final three after eliminating such programs as Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.Screenshot 2015-07-16 16.10.12

The pressure from top programs was relentless. Pass had just visited Alabama the day before his announcement, Auburn during the past week. In the end, Alabama and Auburn would not make the cut.

When time came to make his decision, UofL fans held their breath as Pass slowly declared,

“For the next three or four years, I will be attending … the … University … of … Louisville.”

Carefully and lovingly placing the red hat with the Cardinal logo on his head to stay, confident in his decision.

There it was, Bobby Petrino, along with assistants Garrick McGee and L. D. Scott, had won one of the school’s biggest recruiting battles ever, over two of college football’s most respected programs. A five-star quarterback who checks in at an impressive 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds with 4.5 speed is on his way to Louisville.

Pass said he chose UofL for a number of reasons, including his respect for the UofL coaching staff, which he believes will prepare him for the next level. It didn’t hurt UofL that his brother, Khane Pass, had committed to UofL in August last year and will be a freshman safety of the roster this season.

Major college football recruiting, being what it is, fans can expect some programs to continue to recruit Jawon Pass. But they will probably be wasting their time. The commitment seems to be pretty solid in favor of Louisville. He loves that UofL hat.

“It’s a good fit for me,” Pass said. “I’ve got a good relationship with the coaches and that’s just where my heart was at.”

Adidas tinkers with the Cardinal Bird

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The thing about being one of the top programs aligned with Adidas is that you’re going to be among the first by whom the new is tried and not the last to cast the old aside.

UofL will continue to be a guinea pig for new uniform concepts , subject to all kinds of artistic whims and marketing concepts — some good, some bad, some awful. The latest was unveiled Thursday with the “Uncaged Cardinal Primeknit strategy football uniform,” which will make its debut on Saturday, September 5th vs. Auburn.

There’s only so much that be done with a football uniform beside the basic Primekit material, “a proprietary yarn blend that increases durability and abrasion resistance.” Adidas says it keeps players cool and increases the range of motion, providing an unrivaled level of comfort and allowing athletes to perform at their highest levels.

Maybe so. Nice if that works out.

The designers, however, felt compelled to transform the traditional Cardinal logo on the helmets and the shoes to a creature with which most of us are unfamiliar. One of the first rules of design is not to mess with or alter a corporate logo because it is the lasting impression the client wishes to convey. Adidas explains that the “Uncaged Cardinal” is to represent the football team’s style of play, fierce, attacking and always on the offensive.

The white uniforms were the only images provided by Adidas, so maybe UofL will be the home team on the scoreboard.

There’s no indication whether the uniform design is a one-game wonder for the Chick-fil-A event, or for all games. That may depend on how well the opening game goes for the Cardinals.

Strong drink for Louisville football fans

Maker’s Mark is finally coming through for University of Louisville football fans.

A special edition honoring Coach Charlie Strong will be available July 20th and sold out shortly thereafter.

A great time to have a close friend in the beverage industry.


Frank Minnifield packed up and left but wasn’t gone for long

During the University of Louisville’s most recent graduation ceremonies, President Jim Ramsey paused to recognize a former U of L football player from the early eighties.

At 5-foot-10, 140 pounds, he was considered by many schools to be too small for college football. But then UofL coach Vince Gibson was impressed with his speed, giving him a shot as a walk-on in 1979. 

He was Frank Minnifield,  and the odds were heavily stacked against him.

“At one point he wondered if it was worth it – he packed his bags and headed home,” said Ramsey.  “But, he stopped his car before he got home to think about his future.  As he reflected in his car on the side of the road, he realized the importance of continuing his education, so he turned his car around and returned to school at UofL.  The rest is history – a great history.”

Minnifield would go on to become team captain, lead the team in kickoff returns in  1981 with a 30.4 yard average and 15 yards per punt return.  He would be signed as a free agent by the Cleveland Browns where he would enjoy a nine-year career as a cornerback and make four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances.

After football, Minnifield would start a construction company in Lexington. Today, he runs Minnifield Enterprize, which is a purchasing agent for multiple Toyota manufacturing plants and makes parts for a Toyota supplier.

He has served as a member of the U of L Board of Trustees for five years, and last year was elected to Chairman of the Board.