Archive for March, 2012

March 31, 2012

Bedford Wants to Stop Big Plays

For the first two years of the Charlie Strong era at the University of Louisville, the Cardinals defense has not given up a lot of big plays. They have ranked in the top 25 nationally the last two seasons, and if that reign is going to continue, the Cardinals can’t give up big plays like they did in Saturday’s first scrimmage of the spring.

The Cardinals gave up a pair of 60-yard pass plays and weren’t very sound on third and long. Wide receiver Andrell Smith hurt the Cardinals on third and long, while DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers had long receptions. The defense did just give up two scores, an eight-yard run by Jeremy Wright and a 13-yard reception by Ryan Hubbell.

Despite the amount of starters coming back on defense, the Cardinals played a lot of freshmen last year so this defense is still very young.

“People don’t realize how young this football team is going to be,” said defensive coordinator Vance Bedford. “We are going to have a lot of true sophomores playing and incoming freshmen playing. I think we have only two seniors on defense so people don’t realize, with all the guys coming back, that we are still young. They are sophomores. Expectations are a lot higher, but you don’t know what to expect from young kids.”

With young players, there are going to be a lot of mistakes, and that’s what happened today. The Cardinals were victimized by critical mistakes.

“We had third and longs today, and we had no one step up and make a play,” said Bedford. “We had a post thrown on us for a big play. We have a corner that doesn’t make a play and a safety who is out of position. We gave up three big plays, and that is how you lose ball games.”

March 28, 2012

Spring Practice Video #4

The University of Louisville took part in its fourth practice of the spring on Monday. Here is a brief video of some of the highlights from the closed practice.

March 24, 2012

Watson Talks About the Offense After Three Practices

First-year offensive coordinator Shawn Watson couldn’t ask for a better situation. Even though he took over the offensive midway through the 2011 season, Watson is finally able to install his offense this year, and with 10 starters back on offense, he can hit the ground running, especially with his starting quarterback returning in sophomore Teddy Bridgewater.

Watson has been pleased with what he has seen thus far with his young quarterback through the first three practices.

“He is doing a great,” said Watson. “He is using his eyes well, and because he is using his eyes so well, he is able to use his weapons. He is using all parts of the offense. He has two stellar days. He is a different player than what we saw last year. It’s not even close.”

Because of the experience coming back on offense, the Watson and the offensive staff doesn’t have to waste a lot of timing installing the offense. Louisville returns four of five starters on the offensive line, three of its main running backs and most of its wide receiving corp.

“Right now, we are where everyone is when they start spring practice. We are trying to get the timing back. There is a lot of retention from the players that played last year and the ones who red-shirted. We have a lot of work to do to get our timing back. The effort has been great. I’ve been happy and surprised with how well they retained things from last year.”

The one question mark on offense is at tight end where the Cardinals must overcome the loss of Josh Chichester. Louisville has Nate Nord and Chris White back, but also added junior-college transfer Ryan Hubbell and also moved Aaron Epps from offensive tackle to tight end.

“We have more depth there this year,” said Watson. “Last year, we had to re-create the run game around the fact that we didn’t have a true tight end. Nate Nord is healthy which is big. We have Aaron Epps and we added Ryan Hubbell and Chris White. We have depth. Ryan could be a down field guy. He has down the field talent.”

Watson is excited about the running back position, but wants to find a guy who was like Bilal Powell in 2010.

“We need someone to be the war daddy at that position, like Bilal Powell was in Strong’s first season,” said Watson. “Biggest thing we look back at is not having a go-to guy,” said Watson. “We have to find a go-to-guy. That creates competition in the room and makes everyone better.”

The Cardinals were very inexperienced last year on offense, but with Watson there full-time and 10 starters back, the Cardinals are ready to turn the corner.

March 22, 2012

Interviews from Spring Practice on March 21

March 5, 2012

Strong Hosts Cancer Clinic at Trager

University of Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong talks to him team all the time about being grateful for what they have, and to be thankful for the opportunities that they are afforded each day.

The football team was able to see it first hand on Saturday morning when Strong and the players hosted a group of young children from Kosair’s Children’s Hospital and the Indian Summer Camp who were afflicted with cancer or have already beaten the deadly disease.

Approximately 65-70 children and their families were treated by the football program on Saturday morning at the Trager Indoor Practice Facility.

Strong gave the kids a tour of the facility, which included the weight room, training room and the locker room. He showed the kids a highlight video from the 2011 season before putting the kids through a series of drills with the Cardinal players while also playing “Card Ball” with current players.

The day concluded with autographs from the players and coaches, and a bag lunch for the kids and their families.

“We take so much for granted,” Strong said. “We take our health for granted. Then you think about what happened with the storms on Friday. We work our whole life for things and it can be taken away. We want to keep those people in our prayers. Today was a camp for kids with cancer. You think about what they go through, and this was a chance for them to come out and run around. They are having fun and we are able to bring a smile to these kids’ faces.”

The camp marked the first time for many of the kids to get out and run around and have a little fun.

Strong said it was inspiring to see how affected the Cardinal players were, and how much fun they were having with the youngsters.

“We had our players out here teaching the kids how to throw the football and go through different drills,” Strong said. “I told the kids that they are my hero for what they have to go through every day with the treatments and the pain. It’s just great to bring a smile to their faces and give them the opportunity to run around. It was a great day for everyone.”