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Following the UVA Loss, Cards Have “a really great practice”

Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like it is taking forever for the next game to get here. Anytime your team loses, you just want them to get back on the field as soon as possible to get the nasty taste of defeat out of your mouth. Florida International just happens to be that unfortunate team that has to play the Cards on Saturday. Although there is nothing they can do to get the win back at Virginia, you can bet that Bobby Petrino and the Louisville Cardinals will come out and play like they are trying to win two games on Saturday, not just one.

According to quarterback Will Gardner, and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee, Tuesday’s practice, the first since that loss, was a solid start to the week of preparation for FIU. “We had a really great practice,” Gardner said. “The guys were flying around making plays. I was very accurate. Things were going great today. The offensive line was finishing blocks. It was a great practice out there today.”

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Louisville Football Bowl Projections (9/15)

Tim Hagg/ CardinalSportsZone

Tim Hagg/ CardinalSportsZone

After taking a 23-21 loss to Virginia the Cards have dropped in a few of this weeks bowl projections. With that said the Cards still have many goals still in tact. One thing is for sure, being in the ACC should provide #CardNation with some intriguing possibilities come bowl season regardless of record.

CBS:

Music City Bowl (Dec. 30) vs Missouri

ESPN:

Sun Bowl (Dec. 27) vs Washington

Belk Bowl (Dec. 30) vs Tennessee

Sporting News:

TaxSlayer Bowl (Jan. 2) vs Florida

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Gametime and channel set for Wake Forest game

Tim Hagg/ CardinalSportsZone

Tim Hagg/ CardinalSportsZone

The ACC announced today that the Cards September 27th game against Wake Forest will kickoff at 3:30 pm ET. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. We all called for no noon home kickoffs so get those tailgates ready!!

The Cards Lost a Game, Not the Season, in Charlottesville

Photo: CardinalSportsZone.com

Photo: CardinalSportsZone.com

Well Saturday was just an ugly game, there is no other way to put it. Turnovers left and right by both teams, no real rhythm, just a weird game. After the first drive by UofL, you thought that things were good and we were going to roll to an easy victory. And then the rest of the 1st quarter happened, along with the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

I was at the game, and I haven’t watched it on DVR yet, which always shows some things that you miss while at the game. So I can only go off of things that I saw from the upper level and gathered by talking to other people about the game.

First off, man it’s rough being at a road game and losing. I packed 5 shirts for the trip, all Louisville. So after the game, and on Sunday while still there for a little bit, and the trip home that takes you through West Virginia, I would be in a Louisville shirt. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Honestly the Virginia fans didn’t really say too much. They were more excited for their own team than worrying about disrespecting Louisville fans. At least that is what I saw. Their excitement doubled when they learned that Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina. So overall, they had a pretty good day.

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Final Thoughts on Louisville-Miami

Photo: CardinalSportsZone.com

Photo: CardinalSportsZone.com

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…

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My First ACC Game

ULUM4

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.

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Louisville vs Miami Photo Gallery

Photos by Tim Haag (@UofLBirdsNest)

ESPN Contributor Makes FEARLESS Predictions

AP Photo/Garry Jones

AP Photo/Garry Jones

 

David Hale of ESPN.com was asked to make some fearless predictions this week. He came up with his top 10 for the ACC. To many outside of Louisville, Will Gardner will be a shock and an absolute treat to watch. His full story can be seen here. Here’s my fearless prediction for Will, 3500 yards passing. It would put him in 6th place all-time for a single season right behind my old teammate Chris Redman’s Sr campaign of 3,647. That’s about as fearless as I can get this season. It also may be due to the fact we are so close to football I can taste it and am being really generous. On that note Dom Brown will rush for 2000 yards and Lozo will have 21 sacks. OK…I have calmed down a little but I will stick with my Gardner prediction. Gardner will be magnificent this year. I Can’t wait to utter the words…The Gardner did it!

Go Cards!

 

Will Gardner Officially Named Starting Quarterback

Garry Jones/AP

Garry Jones/AP

In a move that is not a big surprise, Bobby Petrino officially announced that sophomore Will Gardner will be the starting quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals. Although it was expected, it is still news that it is official, and it just means that we are so close to the season starting!

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Miami Names Starting QB for Louisville Game

studentsports.com

studentsports.com

Al Golden, head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, announced that true freshman Brad Kaaya will be the starting quarterback for the ‘Canes when they take the field on September 1 against the Louisville Cardinals. Kaaya beat out senior Jake Heaps, who has also played for BYU and Kansas in his career.

Kaaya is 6’4 and around 206 pounds from West Hills, California. Both Rivals and 247 Sports listed him as a 4-star prospect coming out of high school, so the kid can play. The following excerpt comes from USAToday.com:

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Bobby Petrino speaks at Media Day

Photo: CardinalSportsZone.com

Photo: CardinalSportsZone.com

Bobby Petrino spoke at media day on Saturday morning for about 40 minutes. He talked about how the team has looked in practice, who some play-makers are, how he makes his opening script for a game, and more. Here are some of the key things he talked about…

*Will Gardner – Petrino said that Gardner is doing a good job and that the staff is throwing a lot at him. He said that Will probably feels like he isn’t executing like he was in the Spring, and he isn’t, but it just takes time.

*Reggie Bonnafon – Petrino has done nothing but rave about the freshman from Trinity since he got to campus. From his athleticism to his ability to make plays, you can really tell that Petrino likes Reggie. This past week, Bonnafon moved up to the veterans practice, and Kyle Bolin moved to the newcomers practice. Petrino talked about Bonnafon’s ability to run and makes plays with his feet. He says he hasn’t had a guy who could do that since Stefan LeFors.

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Lindy’s Top 40 Countdown has Louisville at 31

Garry Jones/AP

Garry Jones/AP

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.)

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Bobby Petrino gives a summer update on the team

Photo: cardinalsportszone.com

Photo: cardinalsportszone.com

Bobby Petrino met with members of the media on Thursday afternoon to give an update on the team, much like Rick Pitino did just a week or so ago. There may not have been any breaking news at this press conference, but I love knowing that the season is now less than 7 weeks away! Just hearing Petrino talk about the players and the scheme and the schedule, it has to get you fired up! Ok, it doesn’t have to, but that would be nice so I am not the only one.

You can check out the video here from thecrunchzone.com. As always, we appreciate their coverage of these things. Below that I have listed some of the key points in case you don’t have time to watch the whole video.

*Petrino is excited about the gains that the team has made in the weight room. He says it will be exciting in a couple weeks when they do their testing to see how much stronger they are and what type of shape they are in.

*He is very excited about the attitudes and work ethic of the players.

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ESPN.com Q&A with Gerald Christian

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

ESPN.com blogger Andrea Adelson recently was able to interview Louisville tight end Gerald Christian, and she posted that on the ACC blog on Monday. Christian looks to have a big season under Bobby Petrino, and I couldn’t agree more. While I think every player on offense will have their best season so far, Christian will be a mismatch for nearly anyone that tries to cover him. He should thrive this season.

Here is the interview posted on ESPN.com…

How much more will you be used in the Louisville pass game this year?

A: Coach Petrino, he’s known for using his tight ends and he’s a great coach. I like how he takes his personnel and utilizes their strengths. He’s going to take me and put me in position to be one-on-one against a linebacker and one-on-one against a safety, where he targets me to have mismatches to exploit the defense. Last year, the offense was just learning plays, whereas Coach Petrino takes his playmakers and targets them more to make plays.

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Phil Steele’s Preseason All-ACC teams feature 12 Cards

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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?

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2014 Spring Game Quick Hitters

AP Photo/Garry Jones

AP Photo/Garry Jones

Friday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was everything you wanted to be as a fan. Gorgeous weather, free admission, free parking, activities for the kids, $2 beers, and Louisville football with Bobby Petrino back at the helm.

I am just going to give you some quick hitters with stats or things I noticed. You also have the option of reading the full recap on UofL’s site.

*I know it is just the spring game, and you are playing against your defense, so maybe this isn’t always good…but the yards, points, and fun that you remember are back. The red team had 21 points after the 1st quarter. I remember plenty of times last year when we were in the 4th quarter with about 21-24 points hanging on for the win against teams like Memphis or Houston. The offense is back folks.

*Will Gardner looked great. He completed 32-37 passes for 542 yards and 4 touchdowns. He did throw 1 interception that clearly was a bad decision and looked forced. But other than that 1 mistake, he looked good.

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Spring Game: 5 Offensive Players to Watch

Photo: Maj. Dale Greer

Photo: Maj. Dale Greer

With Friday’s spring football game quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a few players to watch. Surely, you all know about guys like DeVante Parker, Dominique Brown, Eli Rogers, and others that have made a name for themselves already. But this list will be guys who maybe haven’t gotten much playing time to this point because they were playing behind someone else, or maybe because they were in high school last year!

So while you are at the game on Friday night, and some guys are making plays and you look at your roster to see who it was, you can say “Hey I read about this guy on Cardinal Sports Zone!” Ok maybe that’s just my goal for 1 person to do that, but we will see.

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ESPN’s Andrea Adelson: Everything is different in Louisville

Garry Jones/AP

Garry Jones/AP

ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson was recently in Louisville to take in spring practice and talk to head coach Bobby Petrino. In her article, she talks about how different things are now with Petrino and staff back in charge. At the bottom of this post, there is a link to the original post on ESPN.com that also has the video interview with Petrino. Here is some of Adelson’s article…

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It is hard to miss the giant poster of Teddy Bridgewater hanging in the lobby of the Louisville football complex, celebrating the Cardinals’ momentous win over Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl two years ago.

Bridgewater’s rise was concurrent to the football program’s latest ascent to national prominence, but the truth is he was the most notable player on a defensive-minded football team led by a defensive-minded coach who stressed a physical, ball-control style of football that did not always showcase its talented quarterback.

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2014 Spring Game Details

fansided.com

fansided.com

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

*Free admission

*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.

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend Spring Football Practice

Spring practice 002

Photo: Justin Renck/CardinalSportsZone.com

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!

Garry Jones/AP

Garry Jones/AP

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.

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