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Notes From The Spring Game

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Louisville Football put on a semi-competitive showcase for the first time since the Citrus Bowl in the annual spring game, and as expected, reigning Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson did what he did best and lit up the scoreboard in front of the announced crowd of 14,000.

The junior quarterback was 19-36 through the air for 346 yards and three touchdowns, as well as a rushing score for the Red team. Second string quarterback Jawon Pass, who started for the White team, didn’t have quite the outing that Jackson did, as he threw for 20-37, as well as 4 interceptions, including a pick-six by Jaire Alexander. However, it is worth noting that 3 of his 4 picks came off of deflected balls.

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Nunnsense: Observations From The Sideline (Open Practice #3)

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I attended the third and final open football practice on Tuesday afternoon. My goal was to bring you pictures from what I saw accompanied with my thoughts on how the team looked and what you might be interested in. Moments into warm-ups, I was approached and told there was no photography allowed. I tried explaining that millions of Nunnsense and Cardinal fans would be disappointed but my plea fell upon deaf ears and the no photography order remained in place. So I will just tell you what I witnessed with the promise of bringing Spring Game photos in about 10 days or so. Thanks for understanding. That’s why I love you Card family.

The first thing that stood out to me is running back Dae Williams. His size is unbelievable. He has been compared to a young Michael Bush as far as physical structure. To me, the red-shirt freshman resembles a young Marshawn Lynch. Maybe it’s just the combination of the hair hanging out the back of the helmet and the power beastmode style of running. Whatever it is, it caught my eye and I liked what I saw. Although there was basically no contact, he still hit the holes with authority and never dodged a would be tackler. I think this guy would run through a wall for you. He is the perfect fit for the Petrino pro-style offense that loves the power back. He also caught a lot of balls in this practice. I never saw him drop, or ever bobble a pass no matter if it came from Lamar of Jawon. Jeremy Smith was not on the practice field and I couldn’t get an explanation as to why, so big #40 took most of the first-team reps.

 

The second thing that stood out to me was the defense. It’s so hard to tell what the play or drill was supposed to be in a practice but the whole day just had the vibe that the defense was getting the better of the offense. Not sure if they were practicing short passes or defensive coverage was that good but it seemed the quarterbacks had to check down and throw a lot of short passes. The usual suspects remained at their spots but I noticed the absence of Chucky Williams. Not sure why he was not out there but P.J. Blue filled in nicely at safety. I think P.J. is going to see a lot of playing time and I am happy about that.

Stacy Thomas had a nice interception of Jawon Pass and nearly held on to a second interception. He is poised for a big year.

The receivers on this team are a dream come true for Lamar. Jaylen Smith is still out recovering from a broken foot so other receivers are getting a chance to prove themselves. Javonte Bagley continues to look good this spring.I really enjoyed watching Dez Fitzpatrick go up against Jaire Alexander. You want to be a better receiver? Go practice against the best cover corner in college football. Dez did exactly that and did it well. This kid runs such clean and precise routes and has the ability and size to go get the ball at it’s highest point. He is definitely going to be a super star before he heads to the NFL. But the receiver who looked the best was Seth Dawkins. I can’t count how many passes he caught. I didn’t see him drop a pass all day. Having Jaylen on one side with Seth on the other and Reggie in the slot will make for many sleepless nights for ACC defensive coordinators.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, C.J. Avery is a beast. This kid is an early enrolee. He should still be in high school getting ready for prom. Instead he is out there looking like he has been here for 3 years. He is a physical specimen and he just looks like he wants to hit somebody. Keep an eye out for #9 on defense this year. I’d say he end up starting at the “star” position. I think that’s great news for the good guys and terrible news for the bad guys.

I think it shows just how far this program has come and how many great prospects are on this team when you don’t even hardly notice that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is just out there flinging balls around. Yes. Lamar looked great and you would think that most of the 200 people in attendance were there just to see him but most people came out to see the whole team. I know they lost a lot on defense and the offensive line was, well, offensive last year but I truly believe that this team has the potential to be right there on the verge of the playoffs again this year.

I hope to see all of you out at the Spring Game on Saturday, April 15th at 1:00.

 

As Always, GO CARDS!

Nunnsense: 10 Things To Watch At The Spring Game

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Photo: Athlon Sports

On Saturday, April 15th, Louisville football will hold it’s annual Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Spring Game. This will be our last chance as fans to see the team for about 5 months.

It’s tough to determine in this glorified scrimmage just how much the team has improved or how well certain players will adapt in their new roles, whether it be as a starter or at a new position. The coaching staff will be trying different personnel packages, implementing different schemes and calling a variety of experimental plays.

Take it for what it is, a chance to see our guys in action. Even though it’s tough to gauge how great this team can be by the outcome or stats from this game, we can get a look at certain players of interest and individual position battles. Here are 10 things that I will watching with great interest.  Read the rest of this entry

Nunnsense: Meanwhile, Over At The Football Complex…

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It’s March and all eyes are on the top 10 men’s basketball team, the top 12 women’s basketball team and the number 1 college baseball team. All three of those teams deserve every ounce of praise and respect that the get. They have earned it and we are all very proud of them.  Read the rest of this entry

Jaire Alexander 2016 Season Highlight Video

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Photo: Twitter

Opponents passed against Louisville 31.6 times per game and gained an average of 207.1  yards. The majority of those pass attempts were nowhere near cornerback Jaire Alexander.  He has quickly become one of the best corners in the country in only his sophomore year. I would go as far to say that he is a shut down corner. Very impressive considering he started his high  school career as wide receiver. He has the hands of a receiver, the footwork of Fred Astaire and closing speed that lures opposing quarterbacks to believe their receiver is open. However, opposing quarterbacks are now wise to this and rarely throw in his direction. The risk is just too great.

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Jaire Alexander & Cole Hikutini Highlight Videos

 

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Jaire Alexander just finished his sophomore season and is already a shut down corner. He was graded as PFF’s best corner in college football for the 2016 season and is my favorite player on the team. His interception vs. Clemson in the endzone and against Virginia are two of the best I have ever seen. Enjoy this highlight video from @TTTWILL Read the rest of this entry

2016 All ACC Teams Announced

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The 2016 All ACC football teams were announced today. The teams were voted upon by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA). Louisville had one player voted to the first team offense ans one to the first team defense. “ Florida State junior Dalvin Cook, the ACC’s rushing leader with 1,620 yards, leads the overall voting with 139 points. He is joined on the first team by Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson, who leads the conference in total offense with 410.7 yards per game and set a conference record for touchdown responsibility with 51 (30 passing, 21 rushing).” Check out the lists and see how much you agree or disagree with their selections.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
WR, Mike Williams, R-Jr., Clemson, 131 pts
WR, Amba Etta-Tawo, R-Sr., Syracuse, 125
WR, Ryan Switzer, Sr., North Carolina, 107
TE, Jordan Leggett, Sr., Clemson, 95
T, Roderick Johnson, Jr., Florida State, 118
T, Mitch Hyatt, So., Clemson, 104
G, Tyrone Crowder, R-Jr., Clemson, 104
G, Dorian Johnson, Sr., Pittsburgh, 88
C, Jay Guillermo, R-Sr., Clemson, 86
QB, Lamar Jackson, So., Louisville, 125
RB, Dalvin Cook, Jr., Florida State, 139
RB, James Conner, R-Jr., Pittsburgh, 119
PK, Mike Weaver, R-Jr., Wake Forest, 47
Sp., Quadree Henderson, So., Pittsburgh, 103
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DE, DeMarcus Walker, Sr., Florida State, 125
DE, Ejuan Price, R-Sr., Pittsburgh, 107
DT, Carlos Watkins, R-Sr., Clemson, 113
DT, Woody Baron, Sr., Virginia Tech, 79
LB, Ben Boulware, Sr., Clemson, 131
LB, Micah Kiser, Jr., Virginia, 99
LB, Devonte Fields, Sr., Louisville, 70
CB, Tarvarus McFadden, So., Florida State, 113
CB, Cordrea Tankersley, Sr., Clemson, 97
S, Quin Blanding, Jr., Virginia, 100
S, Jadar Johnson, Sr., Clemson, 94
P, Nicholas Conte, Sr., Virginia, 118

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Nunnsense: Is Lamar Jackson The Best Player On His Team?

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(Photo Cred: Andy Staples)

Barring any unforeseen incidents, Lamar Jackson will be the first Louisville football player to be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy awards ceremony as one of the three finalists. As of now, Lamar is not only expected to be invited but he is the favorite to win the award. With all the Heisman talk swirling around the program, it has prompted much talk of Lamar’s place among the best players to ever wear a Louisville jersey (and he is only a sophomore). Although it’s all opinion, many believe he will be considered the best Louisville player ever.  Read the rest of this entry

Louisville at Virginia: Postgame Recap

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It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t the way we pictured it, but the number 5 team in the nation got an important road win against Virginia. The Cavaliers always seem to give the Cards a hard time, even and especially when they are over-matched. Two years ago, the Cavaliers pulled off the stunning upset over the then top-25 ranked Cardinals, last year it was battle the whole game with a late score to put the game away, this year’s game followed the same script. The Cardinals found themselves down 10-7 at halftime, the lowest point total in a half this season. And with 1:57 left to play, Louisville found themselves in dangerous territory down 25-24, then Lamar pulled off maybe his most memorable Heisman moment yet.

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UofL Football Daily Presser: Todd Grantham, James Hearns, Jaire Alexander

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Here is the video from today’s (10-19-16) press conference from practice with Todd Grantham, James Hearns & Jaire Alexander.

Louisville vs Clemson: Postgame Recap

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For the first time this season, the Cardinals found themselves on the losing end of the scoreboard when the final whistle blew. It started the way the past two match-ups between these two teams had gone. Louisville’s offense was held without a point in the first quarter for the first time all season, but the defense held the Clemson offense scoreless through the first 15 minutes as well. The 2nd quarter began with the Cardinals deep in Tiger territory. It didn’t take long for the offense to punch in the first touchdown of the game on a Jeremy Smith 1 yard burst. The rest of the 2nd quarter, did not follow the same script.

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4 Cards Earn ACC Weekly Honors

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The ACC released their players of the week awards this morning. One writer jokingly said: We will need to have two offensive players of the week, a second for other than Lamar Jackson. Maybe he wasn’t joking. It was true again this week as 4 Cards were selected out of a possible 8 categories. If this keeps up, Coach Howard’s premonition may come to fruition sooner than later.

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Louisville vs Florida State: Postgame Recap

photo cred Kentucky.com

First things first, wow. What happened inside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium yesterday still hasn’t fully hit me yet. The No. 2 ranked Florida State Seminoles came to Louisville having beaten the Cardinals two times in a row since Louisville joined the ACC. For the first time ever, College Gameday was in town and the city, fans, and players in Louisville uniforms were electric.

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Jaire Alexander Punt Return TD

(YouTube.com)

(YouTube.com)

I was walking back from the concession stand. I had left at halftime and the lines were long and the people at the stands were taking forever and suddenly unable to fill orders in a timely manner. I finally start walking back to my seat. I look up and the ball is being punted. I think to myself….wow a quick 3 and out. How could it get much better? I quickly seen how it could get much better and thanks to YouTube, so can you! Enjoy!

Friday Night Fight: Louisville at Syracuse

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Last Time: After trailing 10-7 to end the first quarter, Louisville rallied to score 34 unanswered in the following three quarters to blow out the Orange 41-17. Kyle Bolin netted a season high 362 yards and three touchdowns, and Trumaine Washington had a 39 yard interception return for a touchdown to start the scoring spree for Louisville.

With the win, Louisville holds the all-time series lead 8-7.

This Time: Both teams enter tonight 1-0, and looking to get an early leg up in conference play.

About the Syracuse Orange

After a largely unsuccessful three-year run with Scott Shafer, Syracuse hired Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers to try to revive Syracuse football. Babers led FCS Eastern Illinois to deep runs in the playoffs, and then brought Bowling Green to back-to-back MAC championships, winning last season before moving to upstate New York.

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Focus On Special Teams (Video)

Photo: oneononekickingcamps.com

Photo: oneononekickingcamps.com

 

Here is the latest video from UofL Football. It focuses on the Special Teams of UofL. These videos this year have been great. Here are the Louisville Special Teams.

Louisville Football Breakdown Part 6: Cornerbacks/Safeties


Last season:

Last year’s secondary had high expectations to live up to after Gerod Holliman tied the NCAA record for interceptions. Josh Harvey-Clemons was the guy to fill that void, but he had help. The secondary was young and experienced many growing pains, more often in missed tackles than blown coverages. The Louisville defense intercepted 17 passes last season which ranked them 14th in the nation. The safety duo of Chucky Williams and Josh Harvey-Clemons each had 3 interceptions, Trumaine Washington added 3 as well, while Shaq Wiggins had 2, and Jaire Alexander and Jermaine Reve each had 1. Of the 17 interceptions, 12 came from defensive backs, and the only defensive back with an interception not returning is Jermaine Reve (graduated).

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Louisville Football Newsletter 8/6/16

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PRESS RELEASE

Rocco Gasparro

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.

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Louisville Football Breakdown, Part 2: Punt/Kickoff Returners

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Last season:

We saw the emergence of two stars on special teams. Jaire Alexander proved himself to be both sure handed and elusive when returning punts. He returned 23 punts for 223 yards giving him a solid average of 9.7 yards per return. The true freshman cornerback had explosive returns against both UK and Texas A&M last year to end the season and he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off. Traveon Samuel showcased his speed returning kickoffs last season. Samuel, a true freshman receiver, had his biggest play when he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Clemson. Samuel returned the second most kickoffs (12, 4 behind Corvin Lamb’s 16) but had the most yards of any returner with 321, giving him an average of 26.8 yards per return.

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Louisville Football Breakdown, Part 1: Special Teams

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In this ten-part series, we look at the starters and key players for each position. Starting today, we cover the special teams guys with kickers and punters. 

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Last Season: John Wallace was 15-of-21 last season, but missed two crucial late game field goals that would have tied the game against Houston and Clemson. He had a season-long of 50 yards and came close to hitting a 61-yard field goal against Auburn in the season opener. Wallace would sign an undrafted free agent deal with the Washington Redskins after completing his eligibility last season.

Josh Appleby received praise as a false Heisman hopeful and fan favorite, while averaging roughly 41 yards per punt and landing 28-of-69 inside the 20-yard line.

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