Petrino photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com Strong photo: livestream7.com
The Louisville Cardinals had a school record 10 players selected in this past weekend’s NFL Draft. They had the second most of any team, behind Florida State’s 11 picks. Regardless, that looks great for the program. But who do you think should get the most credit? The guy who coached them last season? Or the guy who brought most of those guys to UofL and developed them?
Just for the record, when I refer to Bobby Petrino or Charlie Strong in this, it obviously includes their whole staff as well. Clearly guys like Todd Grantham and Clint Hurtt have a lot to do with the success of those head coaches, but for the sake of time, I will just refer to Petrino and Strong.
Let’s take a look at the 10 draft picks and try to figure out who is most responsible for them getting drafted…
It was a very eventful weekend for the city of Louisville as well as the University of Louisville football program. If you are like me, you were focused on the Derby festivities, but kept an eye on the NFL Draft at least. The Kentucky Derby is what this city is known for, and I was lucky enough to have tickets, so of course that was where my attention was. But I also get mobile alerts, and somehow my phone was working at Churchill Downs, so I was aware when former Louisville players were getting drafted, which was a plus.
In all, a school record 10 players from UofL were drafted. Florida State had the most players with 11. On top of those 10 for the Cards, four (so far) have also signed free agent deals and will have a chance to make a team.
Here is just a quick rundown of where the players were selected.
By now, you are probably familiar with the story of Lorenzo Mauldin. How he was passed around from foster home to foster home as a child as both of his parents were in jail. With everything stacked against him and plenty of excuses to not succeed in life, the fact that Lorenzo was drafted to the NFL on Friday night makes his story so much more incredible.
And if you aren’t familiar with his story, here are a couple of links from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson to help you understand.
On Friday night, there was a moment where it seemed like Louisville football was stealing the show at the NFL Draft. Three Cardinals were selected within 11 picks of each other.
It started with offensive tackle Jamon Brown being picked at number 72 by the St. Louis Rams. Brown is a local kid that attended Fern Creek High School, meaning that the first two picks from UofL (Brown and DeVante Parker) were from the city of Louisville. Brown was a second team All-ACC player in 2014 who started in 40 games for the Cards in his career. He came in as a defensive tackle and switched to the offensive line after four games of his freshman season.
The Louisville Cardinals had their football pro day on Wednesday inside the Trager Center, and there were representatives in attendance from all 32 NFL teams. There were three head coaches there: New England’s Bill Belichick, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, and Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis. The cool thing about that to me is that they easily could have been somewhere else since both Alabama and Southern California also had their pro days on Wednesday. I am sure they sent team personnel to those also, but to have any head coaches here is a pretty big deal.
Over the last few days, there have been plenty of posts on the NFL Combine with information on former Louisville players and how they performed. That is what happens when you send 11 players up to Indianapolis for the event. Here are links to all of the posts from CSZ regarding the NFL combine…
A few days ago, I posted Lorenzo Mauldin’s results from the NFL Combine in the tests he participated in. This one is a little different. This will show his measurements and the analysis on him from NFL.com. It also gives his grade, and what that number means as a projection for him as a pro.
Arm Length: 33″
Weight: 259 lbs
Hands: 9 7/8″
Analysis from NFL.com
Lorenzo Mauldin participated in the NFL Combine this past weekend and took part in 6 of the tests. Here are his results along with where his numbers ranked among linebackers. I will also post the leader for each category to show you where Mauldin stacks up with that person.
40 Yard Dash
Perhaps I should wait until more information comes out. That is probably what a journalist or a professional would do. But since I am nothing more than a fan, I can let these things out whenever.
I am well aware that this could be a huge overreaction post. I know that going into it. After all, we don’t really know the reason (yet) that Chris Jones has been suspended. So if that reason ever does come out and it isn’t a big deal, this could all be for nothing. However, I am not just writing this to pile on Jones since he got suspended. These won’t really be new thoughts from me. He has always walked a fine line to me on a number of things. So this definitely is not a situation where I thought “Oh Chris Jones got suspended. He must now be a bad guy and I am going to write about it.” Not true. These thoughts have always been there in the back of my mind. But now just seems like the appropriate time to let them out. Speaking of that, there are a couple tweets that show that this probably isn’t just no big deal, and it could last more than a game.
The ACC Digital Network had JC Shurburtt on to talk about Louisville’s recruiting class. Shurburtt is the National Recruiting Director for 247 Sports.
In the video, he says that he “definitely sees a replacement” for Lorenzo Mauldin, talks about who can possibly replace DeVante Parker, and talks about Traveon Samuel.
The following comes from Andrea Adelson, who covers the ACC for ESPN.com. She recently posted an article wrapping up the first season in the ACC for the Cards. It may not have ended how we wanted it to, but I agree that overall, it was a successful first season in our new league.
There is only one way to describe the story of Louisville’s first season in the ACC:
Especially when you consider what the Cardinals had to deal with throughout 2014. Forget about the new staff and schemes. Louisville had to go without its best player for seven games; played three different quarterbacks; and faced perhaps the toughest schedule in school history.
If you were able to catch the podcast that I was on the other night, you also got to hear a lot of ACC knowledge from Mr. Jeff Fann. Jeff runs the site AllSportsDiscussion.com, which focuses on the ACC but just as the name says, will also talk about anything in sports.
Besides knowing about all of the teams in the ACC, there was another reason I wanted to do a quick Q&A with Jeff about the game on Saturday. That reason? He is a Clemson graduate. So if there is any team he can talk about more and have a real passion for them, it has to be the Tigers. So here we go!
1) What is the biggest advantage that each team has over the other in this game?
For all of the criticism surrounding the play of Louisville’s offensive line, the Clemson Tigers enter Saturday with plenty of question marks of their own. The local paper, GreenvilleOnline.com, explains it a little more.
Clemson has endured a rash of injuries and setbacks along the offensive line. That has transformed the depth chart into a shallow talent pool. For instance, this week, senior Reid Webster is listed as the starter at right guard.
And the backup at left tackle.
And the backup at center.
And the backup at right tackle.
“We went into last week thin, and we came out thinner,” offensive coordinator Chad Morris said, alluding to the broken foot interior lineman Jay Guillermo suffered Saturday against North Carolina State.
Guillermo, who has logged snaps at guard and center, will miss three to five weeks. Junior tackle Joe Gore missed the N.C. State game and will miss at least another week after undergoing an appendectomy last week. Shaq Anthony, whom Gore beat out for the starting right tackle position through August camp, transferred before the start of the season.
Clemson closed the spring with 10 linemen on its depth chart. They will face Louisville with seven.
Highlights from the game last night from the ACC Digital Network.
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.
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.
Photos by Tim Haag (@UofLBirdsNest)
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.