Louisville Football Players Give Updates On Winter Workouts

Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium

Jawon Pass, Lukayus McNeil, Jonathan Greenard and PJ Mbanasor met with the media today to give some updates on various topics.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The footballs have been put away until the start of spring practice in March, but it hasn’t stopped the University of Louisville football team from putting in the work ahead of the 2018 season.

Facing defending national champion Alabama in their first game, the Cardinals have been grinding the last five weeks in preparation for what will be one of the most challenging openers in school history.

Cornerback P.J. Mbanasor, defensive end Jonathan Greenard, quarterback Jawon Pass, and offensive lineman Lukayus McNeil met the media Thursday afternoon following meetings. The team will have a 6 a.m. mat drill on Friday morning.

“The workouts hurt,” McNeil said. “It’s a grind. Every day is a grind, putting in that work. This is a time when you perfect your craft. This is a time when you make everything perfect.”

The Cardinals started winter workouts in mid-January, and the players already feel a different vibe around the facility during each workout.

“I feel like everyone is buying into what we are trying to do,” Pass said. “I can look around the building and I can see everyone working hard. Everyone is on the same page through the first few weeks of workouts.”

With 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson headed for the NFL, Pass has his embraced his role as the front runner at the quarterback position heading into the start of spring practice on March 20.

“He’s owning it right now,” McNeil said of Pass’ leadership abilities. “I like the atmosphere. He’s the quarterback. When we are doing something right, he’s in our ear, and when he’s not doing it right – we are in his ear.”

Not only are there changes on the offense, the defense will have a new look with Brian VanGorder calling the plays. The former Notre Dame defensive coordinator has established his identity in the first three weeks on the job.

“I like him a lot,” Mbanasor said. “He’s aggressive and straight-forward. He’s big on communicating on defense. When he asks you a question about defense, he almost wants you to yell at him to ensure that everyone is on the same page.”

The defensive backfield must replace all four starters and there are open jobs that are up-for-grabs. One of the competitions to watch will be at cornerback. After transferring from Oklahoma and sitting out last season, Mbanasor is chomping at the bit to get back on the field.

“Being on scout team last year, I was able to build relationships with my teammates and coaching staff,” Mbanasor said. “I’ve grown a lot this offseason, took a step back and watched other guys’ mistakes. I also was able to watch and see what things other guys did well.”

After finishing at 8-5 and dropping the TaxSlayer Bowl to Mississippi State last season, the players are determined to get back on the practice field and work toward what has the potential to be an another exciting season.

“We are learning to play as a team and play for one another,” Greenard said. “There are a lot of guys ready to work and are hungry to get on the field. That makes the environment more competitive and everyone is pushing one another to get better.”


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