In last year’s win over Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, seven different Cardinals logged receptions. Gone is Josh Bellamy, Louisville’s leading receiver from that contest, as well as three others who made catches in the win.
One of the players returning from that group is senior Andrell Smith, who registered one catch – a touchdown – for 38 yards in the win over UK to help snap a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats. Smith, who checks in this season at 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, ended last year with 11 catches for 207 yards, an average of 18.8 yards per catch. Wide receivers coach Ron Dugans says he thinks Smith is ready to take the next step in his career this year.
“I think he is,” wide receivers coach Ron Dugans said. “I think he’s focused more on his assignments. He knows that we need him to play some good football this year, his last year. He knows that he’s got to come out and show it on the football field. He knows it in the classroom, now he has to put it on the field and put his work on film.”
Two others who made plays in the Kentucky game and had star-studded freshman seasons in 2011 are local product DeVante Parker (18 receptions, 291 yards, six touchdowns) and Eli Rogers, who played high school ball at Northwestern with Teddy Bridgewater.
The connection between Bridgewater-Rogers is special, and while Rogers finished with an impressive 41 catches last season, Dugans knows there’s no limit to what those two can accomplish, and believes it can only help motivate the rest of the receiving corps.
“Early on, they had that connection,” Dugans said of the Rogers’ relationship with Bridgewater. “Those guys have been around each other for a while. Now, it’s more of the whole group – they feed off each and they feed off of Teddy. Other guys are making plays as well. Eli knows where Teddy wants him to be, so that’s why he’s been making the plays he’s been making.”