LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino brought his full football team together for the first time on Saturday afternoon after the team participated in split practices for the first three days.
After practicing with the rookies in the morning and the veterans in the afternoon, the whole team came together on Saturday after the team met with the media and took pictures during their Annual Media Day.
It was a little fun break for the team, who has been grinding through the first couple days of a hot and humid camp.
“It’s been fun to be in camp,” Petrino said. “I’m enjoying it. The first three days with the split practices has been really good. They understand the tempo of practice and what’s expected of them. They will get a look at what practicing hard really is when the vets join them for practice.”
The entire 105 players hit the field together on Saturday afternoon and went through a 25-period practice in helmets and shoulder pads for almost two-and-a-half hours under another day of strong humidity.
While a lot of focus has been on the returning experience, Petrino has liked what he saw out of his recruiting class.
“I do like the young class we have,” Petrino said. “They are talented. They have good attitudes and have been coachable.”
After four days of fall practice, Petrino is pleased with the competition thus far, especially in the secondary, where all four starters return. Senior Josh Harvey-Clemons and junior Chucky Williams are back at safety, while junior Trumaine Washington, sophomore Jaire Alexander and junior Shaq Wiggins also return at the cornerback position.
“We have done a real nice job in the secondary,” Petrino said. “They’re communicating better than they ever had. It’s been good to see Chucky Williams be bigger and stronger, and more confident. There will be some good competition at the cornerback position, which will make everyone better.”
The Cardinals had their most competitive and hardest practice of fall camp on Saturday. Practicing in shoulder pads and helmets for the second-straight day, the Cardinals worked the last half of practice doing team work, with both sides of the ball making a series of plays as is expected during the first part of camp.
Sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson threw the ball well over the middle and found a lot of his receivers in stride, allowing them to run after the catch. Senior tight end Cole Kikutini and senior wide out Jamari Staples also made big plays in the passing game.
“What we have to do with Lamar, and everyone else on the team, is come out and get better every day,” Petrino said. “We need to come out in practice every day and just improve to get better. I want them to focus and concentrate. I’ve always embraced high expectations and I want players to want to be the best they can be.”
Junior linebacker James Hearns put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, disrupting plays in the backfield and forcing the quarterbacks to pull the ball down and run.
The Cardinals will close practice on Sunday with a 3 p.m. workout in the first day of full pads, which is always an intense and exciting day for the players.
NOTES: Linebacker Gary McCrae, who hadn’t been cleared, has qualified and will report to campus on Saturday. He is expected to join the team on Sunday for the afternoon practice… Petrino also said CB Cornelius Sturghill will miss the season after being shot in the foot by a stray bullet during a drive-by-shooting in Memphis… Petrino also noted that preseason All-ACC and All-American linebacker Devonte’ Fields is in top shape after reporting out of shape at this point last year… Junior linebacker Stacy Thomas underwent surgery Saturday at Jewish Hospital for a non-football related issue that arose early Saturday morning… Javonte Bagley made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone, securing a tipped ball and keeping his feet in play… Petrino praised Austin Johnson‘s consistent delivery punting the football.