Here are the depth charts listed on each team’s website for Friday night’s game between Louisville and Syracuse. For Louisville, although it does say “Will Gardner or Reggie Bonnafon,” we know that Coach Petrino has announced that Reggie Bonnafon will start the game. It does list Matt Milton as a starter at wide receiver. Personally, I am STILL waiting for him to break onto the scene. I feel like I have been hyping him up for 3 years now.
The offensive line still has the “or” word used at center and right guard. Another interesting note is that James Quick is not listed as the first or second punt returner. Sticking with special teams, Brandon Radcliff is not listed as a starting kick returner, possibly indicating that he will continue to get more carries from the running back position.
11 Will Gardner 6-5 226 So.
or 7 Reggie Bonnafon 6-3 206 Fr.
12 Brett Nelson 6-4 220 Sr.
After practice on Monday, Bobby Petrino and Eli Rogers met with the media to talk about the team and preview Syracuse. Petrino talks about why Dominique Brown was benched, the status of Will Gardner, and how he thought Reggie Bonnafon did. When asked if there is concern about his team looking ahead to the Clemson game, Petrino laughs it off and says that there are enough players on this team that lost to Syracuse two years ago (45-26) and they have a chip on their shoulder from that.
Anytime I go to a UofL football game, I like to watch it back on DVR before typing up too much about it. It is easy to have initial thoughts and reactions while at the game, but you do notice a lot more when you watch it again on TV. So since I finally was able to do that and I just finished with it, I will close the book on the Wake Forest game with these few thoughts, before moving on to Syracuse.
*I believe that Reggie Bonnafon had a very good game. In my 3 quick hitters after the game, I mentioned this, but I have to expand on that after seeing the game again. If you just look at the stats, you would think he was average at best. He threw for 206 yards on 16/32 passing and did not throw for a touchdown. He also did not have an interception. He rushed for 46 yards on 14 carries. Two of those carries were on 3rd and long and he picked up the 1st down with big runs. Huge plays!
Speaking of 3rd and long, the rest of the offense did not do him any favors when it came to down and distance. In the first quarter, actually on the same drive, the offense for the Cards had two different penalties on 3rd down that backed them up to 3rd and long. On 3rd and 9, there was an illegal substitution that backed it up to 3rd and 14. Bonnafon would actually convert that into a 1st down with a great throw to Eli Rogers, but that kind of penalty just can’t happen. Then on 3rd and 4, the Cards were called for a chop block, backing them up to 3rd and 18. On the next play, Bonnafon was sacked. Before the chop block was called, Louisville had picked up that 1st down on 3rd and 4.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it was a win. Here are three quick observations from the game yesterday.
The defense had another great game
Some things are obvious, but it has to be said. This defense picked up the slack for the offense once again this game. Gerod Holliman continues to impress as he got his 6th interception of the season and had a great return that almost went for a touchdown. He also had a huge hit on a Wake Forest player that sent him out of the game and got the crowd very energized. He is clearly one of the fan favorites on this team.
For the game, the defense only gave up 3 points, and that was after a fumble by Reggie Bonnafon around midfield. They also only gave up 100 yards of offense from Wake Forest. Lorenzo Mauldin was in the backfield all game and came away with 3 sacks. Sheldon Rankins actually had an interception on what seemed like the 30th time that the Demon Deacons tried to run that shovel pass play up the middle.
Facing a freshman QB for the 3rd time in 5 games, the defense did exactly what they should have done, shut him down.
Bobby Petrino told the media on Thursday that running back Michael Dyer is still questionable for the Virginia game on Saturday. He has practiced the last two days, but is still sore. According to Howie Lindsey, Petrino said that Dyer wants to be back, but there is atrophy in the thigh. Livestrong.com describes atrophy in the leg: The most common reason for atrophy to occur in the legs is disuse. Lack of activity for any reason — illness, injury, seated desk job, sedentary lifestyle — can lead to loss of leg muscle.
When the depth chart was released, it showed Dyer as the backup running back. If he is unable to go for the third straight game this season, L.J. Scott will likely move into the backup role behind Dominique Brown. I think we are all comfortable with Scott as the backup, but it sure would be nice to have Michael Dyer back soon.
Bobby Petrino met with reporters on Thursday to talk a little about the Miami win, as well as preparing for the Murray State game on Saturday. It appears that senior Michael Dyer will not play against the Racers as he is still healing from a thigh injury. They hope he is ready to play next week when the Cards hit the road for their second ACC game at Virginia.
“Yeah I don’t think he’s going to be ready this weekend either,” Petrino said. “Right now we are kind of focusing on getting him ready for Virginia.” Petrino said that is the plan unless something happens in the next 48 hours, but even then, I doubt they risk him this weekend.
The Louisville-Miami game ended about 2 days ago at the time I am typing this. So too much time has passed to write about that game, right? Time to move on to the next game? Nah, not just yet. A game of this magnitude can be celebrated and talked about just a little bit longer than normal games. I started going to UofL football games as early in my life that I can remember, and the games were played on astroturf on a baseball field, not too far from horse manure. Big names like Texas and Penn State came in to play, but still, Louisville was far from a big-time program.
The Cards moved into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium beginning in the 1998 season. It was definitely a new era of Cardinal football. At the time, we were a program that was nothing more than decent, and in Conference USA. Fast forward to Monday night, and you have seen the Cards in the Big East and the American Athletic Conference. But Monday night, you saw the Cards take on the Miami Hurricanes as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not just members, but a program that is ready to compete right away.
I remember when you could go to a gas station and get free tickets for UofL football games. I remember the smell of the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center as you are walking into old Cardinal Stadium. I remember watching Ron Cooper lead us to a 1-10 season. I think it is quite alright to let Monday’s huge game/moment last just a little bit longer than usual.
So after watching the game from my new seats in section 224, and finally watching it on DVR to catch anything I may have missed, there are some things that surprised me and some things that didn’t surprise me. I will attempt to outline them now…
My first game with Louisville as a member of the ACC was magnificent. It started out with the best CardMarch I have ever been to. It didn’t seem like I tailgated since 3pm either. I know some were out longer but that’s the earliest I could get out. Walking through the sea of CardNation after the CardMarch was amazing too. Walked by Luke Hancock, the entire UofL Basketball Team and even seen Miss Rose Bridgewater. It was a great time. Then we took the long walk to Section 9 Row GG to our seats. I thought I was gonna die. I sat down and did not move until the clock hit 0:00. (unlike 20% of the crowd) But I understood this time, Late night game, work and school tomorrow, I will give you some slack. I will not however give the 15,000 people who decided to spend the 2nd half on the party deck any slack. lol. They really should make those standing room only seats. It would increase capacity too!. The game was what I expected from a “Rookie” QB. Will Gardner did have a rough night but he didn’t do anything wrong that coaching and a nice game vs Murray State won’t fix. 3rd most yards in a opener under Petrino at QB isn’t too shabby either. Dom Brown and the entire receiving core impressed me. We said multiple people would have to step up to cover DP being out and boy did they ever. The entire Defense was amazing too. Lozo, Rankins, Kelsey AKA Mr 55 (cheap pop), Floyd, Sample, Holliman, Brown, Burgess and whoever else I forgot just made me glow.
During Saturday’s scrimmage, running back Michael Dyer suffered a quad contusion that has held the senior out of practice since. The injury likely occurred by a helmet hitting his thigh. Bobby Petrino met with reporters after practice on Tuesday. Asked if Dyer would be ready for the Miami game on September 1, Petrino said “I hope so.”
It’s getting to be that time where the national publications release their preseason college football polls. There will be many different ones of course. This one is from Lindy’s, who have the Cards at #31 on their countdown. I would expect this to be about where most magazines and other media outlets have the Cards, somewhere around that #25 mark. Many factors will contribute to that. Yes there is a lot of talent back, but the uncertainty of a new QB, replacing 3 first round NFL Draft picks, and everything you already know about.
Here is what Lindy’s says about the Cards in 2014…(They mention Robert Clark, but of course he has transferred to Samford.)
Phil Steele released his Preseason All-ACC teams today, and there were plenty of Louisville Cardinals getting some recognition. DeVante Parker and Jake Smith were the only players to make the first team, although he has Smith as a center. Smith moved to guard in spring practice. On the second team, you will see Lorenzo Mauldin as a defensive end, even though he will basically be a linebacker/defense end hybrid this season. But it’s whatever. In all, 12 different Cards made the list. Charles Gaines is on it twice because he runs with animals.
Of the 12 players on the 1st Team Offense, Florida State has 6 of them. So they will probably be pretty good this season.
Here are the teams. What do you think?
ESPN.com’s David Hale wrote this blog that talked about the top returning football players in the ACC for the 2014 season according to the numbers. Louisville players were not included in the actual lists, but they were certainly mentioned if they would have been a top returner. I may have just confused you with that, so just check out what I am talking about. The following is from the blog on ESPN.com…
Here’s a quick look at the top returning players in the ACC this upcoming season, based on their stats from 2013. (Last year’s ACC ranking in parentheses.)
1. Kevin Parks, Virginia – 1,031 (2nd)
2. Duke Johnson, Miami – 920 (5th)
3. James Conner, Pitt – 799 (8th)
4. Isaac Bennett, Pitt – 797 (9th)
5. Shad Thornton, NC State – 768 (11th)
Of note: Louisville’s Dominique Brown would actually rank third on this list after racking up 825 rushing yards last season, good for fourth in the AAC. Including Brown, the ACC returns 11 running backs this year who accounted for at least 500 yards on the ground in 2013, though Miami’s Dallas Crawford (558 yards) is currently working with the Hurricanes’ secondary. Parks returns after a 1,000-yard season. The last running backs to return following a 1,000-yard effort in the ACC were Gio Bernard and Andre Ellington in 2012. Both topped 1,000 again in their follow-up campaigns.
The details have been announced for this year’s Spring Football game. Check them out below…
*Friday April 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET
*Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
*Stadium games open at 6:00 p.m.
*Activities outside the stadium start at 4:00 p.m.
*Live music in the Street Fest area with food, $2 beers, and carnival rides
*$2 beer during the game on the Norton Party Deck
*Concessions open on the concourse
*Cardinal Authentic Store open in Street Fest with sales up to 70% off
*After the game, players signing autographs for 45 minutes. Some players will be available for pictures.
There are many more than just five reasons to attend a Louisville spring football practice. But for the sake of your time and attention, I have narrowed it down for you. So far, there have been 8 practices for the fans to attend. There are 6 more before the Spring Game on Friday April 11 at 7:30. So in case you need any motivation, here are 5 reasons why you should attend a spring practice before it’s too late…
1) Because you finally can!
We all appreciate what Charlie Strong and his staff did here, that’s a given. But when it came to stuff like this, you would think that the Louisville football team was Fort Knox. There would usually be one or two open practices for the fans, and that was it. So if you couldn’t make one of those two, you were out of luck. This year has been completely different. All 14 spring practices are open to the public. That gives you so many chances to go see the team, so take advantage of this opportunity. We know what it’s like to feel shutout from seeing our own team out there on the practice fields. This is a real treat.
This spring, Louisville Football fans have gotten a treat. Every spring practice has been open to the public. So far, the team has had 6 practices. If you haven’t made it out to one yet, don’t worry. There are still 8 more practices before the Spring Game on Friday April 11.
There is not a set location for these practices. They all depend on weather and availability of facilities. But they are either held inside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the practice fields right outside the stadium, or inside the Trager Indoor Practice Facility. There is usually an announcement made as practice time gets closer on twitter by @UofLFootball and then of course we try to get the word out from @CardSportsZone, so make sure you are following us.
Here is the remaining schedule for the spring. The two Saturday practices that say “TBA” are probably going to be in the morning. The last one started around 10:00 a.m.
I attended the open football practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Trager Indoor Practice Facility. Like most spring practices without the full pads on, it is hard to tell too much from what you see. But since I did go and saw more than those who were not there, I can at least come up with some quick hitting notes, so this should be better than nothing for those who could not make it out there. If you want to see the full spring schedule, click here.
*Teddy Bridgewater is not walking through that door unfortunately.
*In all seriousness, I am fully confident that by the time practice starts in the fall, Bobby Petrino will have his quarterback groomed and ready to go. Things are just shaky right now. Will Gardner looks good at times, but then average at times. Kyle Bolin is usually Mr. Accuracy, but he wasn’t today. He also had a couple of fumbles. The overall quarterback play for me was average at best today.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach released another way-too-early Top 25 for the 2014 college football season. In the last one, the Cards were included. But since the hiring of Bobby Petrino, Louisville has found a way back in at #25. Of course this does not mean much now. It is just something to talk about and give you an idea of where we may begin the season.
Say what you want about new Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, but the guy usually puts a winning team on the field. His first season back at Louisville shouldn’t be any different in the Cardinals’ first season in the ACC. The Cardinals have to find a replacement for departing junior Teddy Bridgewater, who might be the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft. Rising sophomores Will Gardner and Kyle Bolin will battle for the job, and they’ll be surrounded by a lot of proven playmakers. Tailback Dominique Brown is coming back after running for 825 yards this past season, and Auburn transfer Michael Dyer might get new life under Petrino. The Cardinals also bring back seven players who caught at least 15 passes in 2013. Defensively, the Cardinals might bring back only four starters, after losing junior safety Calvin Pryor to the NFL draft. The ACC schedule makers gave the Cardinals a break; they’ll play conference road games at Boston College, Clemson, Syracuse and Virginia.
This week…..on 55…..
We celebrated our birthday at CSZ (got 0 cake) and watched the Cards dominate their bowl game after falling a little flat during the basketball game. I really hope you guys love this feature. I really do do (hehe) this for you guys. If it’s a hit then awesome and if only 10 people see it (yeah right) then so be it. But alas, it is the time of the week I love, 55 time. As we say goodbye to 2013: The Year Of The Card and say hello to 2014, YOTC pt 2. Once again I share with you the 55 most ridiculous things I have heard, had to debate, or just thought about this past week.
1) CardinalSportszone.com turned 2 years old on Wednesday. Once again I couldn’t begin to tell Steve, Justin, & Daryl what this site means to me and how proud I am to call them teammates…..what a way to go out…..sorry Teddy flashbacks
2) 1 more year! 1 more year!
3) Hopefully CardinalSportszone.com will have many, many more years
4) I am gonna tackle football first. Saturday evening the Cards disposed of the Miami Hurricanes 36-9. Teddy Bridgewater threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score on Saturday night in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He threw for a career high 447 yards
5) Teddy come back…..
7) He gone
8) I digress
9) Junior wideout DeVante Parker had 9 catches for 142 yards and a TD. His 12th TD of the season ties Ibn Green’s 1998 mark and puts him just 5 away from Ibn’s career mark
10) DeVante come back…..
11) Kicker John Wallace outscored Miami by himself, threw a punch and laid the wood in a very eventful game for the kicker
12) Switching gears this also happened Saturday:
13) OK back to football