LOUISVILLE, Ky. For the second-straight day, rain played havoc with the University of Louisville football practice schedule.
With practice delayed for about 15 minutes to let a storm pass through the area, the veterans took the field and looked more comfortable, and with shoulder pads coming on for the first time, the speed and intensity of practice was elevated to a different level.
Senior tight end Cole Hikutini blocked well during the team run period, spring the running back through the hole a couple of times, and redshirt freshman linebacker Amonte Caban delivered a couple of big hits to opposing blockers.
“There was some good intensity out there this afternoon,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said following Friday’s practice. “I think the guys put in the work this afternoon under some tough conditions and were able to have a good practice.”
Head coach Bobby Petrino conducted the final day of split practices, putting the newcomers in the morning and the veterans out in the afternoon, before the team comes together for the first time on Saturday at 3 p.m.
After a brief rain shower at the start of practice, the rain subsided, but didn’t limit the humidity.
“The first couple days have gone well,” senior linebacker Keith Kelsey said. “The guys have come out and worked hard and listening to what the coaches have been saying. I’ve been pleased so far after the first three days.
The team went through one of the longest practices of fall camp, but the intensity had picked up quite a bit compared to the first two practices of fall camp.
“It was a very spirited and intense practice today,” Kelsey said after practice. “We are all playing together as a unit. We need everyone on the same page; all 11 guys running to the football and putting a hat on the football.”
Practicing in shoulder pads for the first time, Petrino put the Cardinals through a number of team periods with the first units facing off against one another. One player who stood out during the scrimmage portion of practice was junior Trumaine Washington.
The native of Miami played with great technique to intercept a pass intended for senior wide receiver Jamari Staples, and came back a few plays later to force an errant throw in the direction of Staples.
“It’s been split-squad practices so we’ve been able to get a lot of work for many individuals,” Grantham said. “We have been able to work on fundamentals. They guys put the work in during the summer, and when you put the pads on it’s a little different, but they fought through it and it’s been solid.”
Former UofL safety and eight-year NFL veteran Kerry Rhodes spoke to the Cardinals following practice. Rhodes, who played for the Cards from 2001-04, told the team that to be great they need to be a student of the game. He enlightened the players of his journey to UofL and what Petrino meant to his playing career.
“I’ve talked to Kerry a few times before in the weight room,” Kelsey said. “It was great. He had been through what we are going through now. He has had the hard days with camp. He has been to the highest level and he knows what it takes. He is definitely a guy to listen too.”
The Cardinals will go through Media Day on Saturday morning, with Petrino addressing the media at 10:30 a.m.
EDITORS NOTE: You can listen to UofLFootball Media Day coverage on the CardinalSportsZone show on ESPN Louisville 93.9 FM The Ville. Coverage starts at 10 am and runs till noon. We will have exclusive interviews, the press conference and much more.