It’s only been a week since my last post, but for me it seemed like there were 15 things that happened that I want to touch on with fans but kept getting swallowed by something new. Seriously y’all, I don’t know how Justin does it. Most of the news posts out of CSZ are from him after his 9-5 job & after he teaches little kids how to ball (hmm, maybe I could use a lesson. Have you seen my shot, J? Never mind, it’s scary). So I’m going to once again list (lol) the new news that rounded out the year 2015 into 2016 for Louisville football.
-🔸Louisville invades Nashville for the Music City Bowl
Louisville fans have been getting great news lately for the 2016 football season. Josh Harvey-Clemons, Keith Kelsey, DeAngelo Brown, and Devonte Fields all requested to get feedback on their stock from the NFL. They then had to decide if they wanted to try and go pro or return to school. Fans probably hoped at least two would come back, just so the team wouldn’t lose too much on defense. But surprisingly, all four juniors decided to return to UofL for the 2016 season.
On Thursday afternoon, the four guys talked about their decisions to come back.
Shaq Wiggins is joining Josh Harvey-Clemons and Keith Kelsey and returning to Louisville for the 2016 football season. This does not come as a huge surprise to me, but at the same time, I didn’t really expect Charles Gaines to leave last year either.
We’ve now had a few days to let the win against Texas A&M really sink in. The more I think about it, the more excited it makes me. That team went out and gave one of its best performances of the season. That’s expected when a team gets time to prepare and game plan; however, it is not expected when James Burgess, three time starting senior linebacker gets ejected for a horribly called and even more horrendously upheld targeting call on the first play from scrimmage. You can’t game plan for losing one of your best edge rushers shortly after that either. Not to mention, Shaq Wiggins missed most of the first half on the play that sent Burgess to the locker room. This very young team overcame every obstacle thrown at them in Nashville, and did it with style.
I know it is UofL-UK week in basketball, but don’t forget about this football team! Just watching this Bobby Petrino press conference got me right back into the swing of things for the football Cards. Petrino talks about bowl preparation, what they have done differently than last year’s bowl prep, guys that have filed paperwork with the NFL, and much more.
The ACC announced their All-Conference teams on Monday afternoon, and there was no shortage of Louisville Cardinals, as 10 players were named to various teams. Nobody made the first team, and Sheldon Rankins somehow landed all the way back on the third team.
Of the 10 players, 9 came from the defensive side of the ball, with Geron Christian being the only player on offense to make it. The full teams are listed below.
Louisville junior Josh Harvey-Clemons made a big impact in his first game as a Cardinal on Saturday, intercepting two passes and adding on 14 tackles against Auburn. His performance earned him the accolade of ACC Defensive Back of the Week, the league announced on Tuesday afternoon.
As you may or may not know, I lived in Auburn, Alabama from 2008-2012 and still have some friends down that way. A friend of mine that I still keep in touch with is Scott Bagwell, one of the biggest Auburn fans I know, who is also a good writer. He is very knowledgeable and won’t just be an Auburn homer. He will tell it like it is, which is what we want. He decided to help me (and all of you Louisville fans) out by writing a post about both the offense and the defense of Auburn. This post will focus on the defensive side of the ball. If you missed the one on the offense, here you go.
By Scott Bagwell:
According to the ACC Digital Network, Louisville’s top 3 impact players for the 2015 football season will be James Quick, Sheldon Rankins, and Brandon Radcliff. There is no doubt that all three of those guys will have to play well for the Cards to have success. It is just very hard to narrow this down to three because then you leave out guys like James Burgess, Keith Kelsey, Josh Harvey-Clemons, or whoever plays quarterback.
Nevertheless, these three will still be key factors in 2015.
College Football News has a good preview of the 2015 Louisville Cardinals. As we start July, any football preview is a good thing because the season can not get here soon enough. But this particular preview seems to actually be accurate about the team, which you don’t always get from national publications.
Here are a fer excerpts from the preview. You can read the full post by clicking the link above.
The latest edition of “The Red Zone” features Josh Harvey-Clemons, who sat out last season after transferring from Georgia. Harvey-Clemons should be a major addition to the defense this year.
It is no secret that when Louisville takes the field on September 5th against the Auburn Tigers, the personnel on defense will be much different than last year. No Mauldin, Sample, Gaines, Holliman…you get the point. But a reason for UofL fans to be optimistic is the addition of two transfers from Georgia that can play this season, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins.
Wiggins missed most of spring ball after a bad elbow injury. According to his tweet, it looks like that elbow is finally healed.
The staff at ESPN.com came up with a pretty unique post. They took every jersey number from 1-99 and put together a list of the best player at each number for this coming season. For example, #9 probably would have been DeVante Parker in the 2014 version of this kind of post, meaning that DeVante was the best #9 in the entire country.
*A panel of reporters covering every Power 5 conference nominated players for each number then voted on the best.*
For this year, the Cards got two players on the list, both of the defensive side of the ball.
Earlier this week, I posted about five players to watch on offense at this Friday’s spring football game. Now it is time for the five players to watch on defense. Once again, these won’t be the obvious guys that you already know about like Sheldon Rankins or James Burgess. Rather, this will be a list of guys that you may or may not have heard of, but that we expect to make an impact in the 2015 season for the Cards.
Once again, just for reference, I will tell you the five guys we highlighted going into last year’s spring game, just to show we may have an idea of what we are talking about. And if this is completely wrong this year, my fault. Last year’s five to watch on defense:
1) Keith Kelsey – Had to fill the void left by Preston Brown last season. I would say he did that.
2) Sheldon Rankins – Like I said, not even listing him this year because he is obvious. Was not obvious at this point last year.
3 & 4) Richard Benjamin & Chucky Williams – Had these guys on here because of the loss of Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor. Had no idea Gerod Holliman would blow up like he did, and James Sample wasn’t even a thought to be a Cardinal at the time.
5) Trevon Young – Didn’t have a breakout season, but also played a similar position as some guy named Lorenzo Mauldin. He still appeared in 11 games though.
So what that shows is this list may miss a time or two (Benjamin and Williams) or it can have guys on here that can be huge on defense (Kelsey and Rankins). Take it for what it’s worth. It would be easy to name the big-time guys. Taking a couple chances here.
It is already that time of year again. Spring football begins today, and Bobby Petrino met with the media on Monday to talk about the state of the team. The Cards are in the Sweet 16 (men and women) and spring football is starting. This is a very fun time!
I’m excited to get started tomorrow. I’ve certainly been looking forward to this. It’s a new team. We have a lot of new working parts, so it will be a lot of fun to see how it all goes together, who wins competition for positions. The thing we always understand is that spring football is, number one, about our players getting better at their craft and working hard on their technique and fundamentals, working hard to become experts about what they do.
Bobby Petrino can never have enough quarterbacks. He just landed another one. Former Washington State quarterback Tyler Bruggman has told Insidetheville.com that he plans to transfer to Louisville. The redshirt freshman was a 4-star player in high school.
When Bruggman decided to leave Washington State, he was granted his release to Louisville, Arkansas, Duke, and Indiana. Of those four schools, Louisville was the one school that did not offer him a scholarship out of high school. But that didn’t seem to matter here, as it sounds like it wasn’t even a close race to land him.
When former Georgia safety Tray Matthews was dismissed from the team a couple weeks ago, he tweeted that his next home would either be Louisville or Auburn. It looked really good that he would end up with the Cards with his former Bulldog teammates Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins. A few days passed, and then there were reports that Alabama and Florida were even in the mix for Matthews. There hasn’t been too much more on those two, so we will bring it back around to Louisville and Auburn…
I lived in Auburn for 4 years, from 2008-2012. I still keep in touch with friends down there. 99% of our conversations are about sports. If you have ever lived down that way, you know that Auburn football (or big-time SEC football) is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Everyone keeps up with football information, whether that be recruiting or just anything else with the team.