Football season is quickly approaching, and the University of Louisville Football team is still receiving preseason recognition. Junior, Jaire Alexander adds to his long list of preseason nods, by being named to the first team Associated Press’ All American. Fellow junior and reigning Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson, was named to the second team. You can see them both in action in less than two weeks at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Purdue Boilermakers on September 2nd at 7 PM.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
For today’s entry of The Barbour Shop, I’m going to give you all a list of Top 10 things to do and see while in Indy. However, the list comes with a puntastic UofL twist. Obviously time and dollars dictate you probably won’t be able to visit every place, but you can always pick which one or ones you want to visit. Let’s get started.
10) Hinkle Fieldhouse:
Yeah, it’s not basketball season yet, but Hinkle’s history makes it worth a visit. UofL is the unofficial owner of Hinkle as they have won their last 3 meetings with Butler there.
Jaire Alexander has received another preseason All American nod. While we are thrilled Alexander is getting the recognition he deserves, we are confused why he is the only Cardinal on the list. The reigning Heisman trophy winner, Lamar Jackson, has yet again been left off another list. Check out the Sport Illustrated’s full team below.
College football is upon us! Yesterday the University of Louisville football team held its annual kickoff luncheon. Check out the highlights below!
Last Season: After losing both their kicker and punter due to graduation, the Louisville special teams needed new faces at those positions. Mason King took over duties as the team’s new starting punter, while Evan O’Hara and Blanton Creque split duties as the starting kicker throughout the season.
King had a solid season as a freshman, finishing in the top 20 in average yards per punt. The St. Xavier alum was the only freshman in the country to be in the top 20 in punting.
Blanton Creque finished 16/19 on the season, with a season-long of 47 yards against LSU in the Citrus Bowl. Creque took over after the Florida State game last year, also hitting 39 of 40 extra-point attempts.
In the return game, Jaire Alexander proved why he is one of the most dangerous returners in college football. The sophomore had a punt return for a touchdown against Florida State last season, and nearly had a second in the same game. Alexander finished in the top 15 in average yards per return in 2016.
Projected Starters: Mitch Hall (long snapper), Blanton Creque (kicker), Mason King (punter), Jaire Alexander (punt returner), Cornelius Sturghill & Traveon Samuel (kick returner)
With Colin Holba going to the NFL, Louisville recruited All-American Mitch Hall to replace him. Hall played in the Army All-American game last January, and was regarded as one of the best long snappers in high school last year. He’ll likely start at long snapper this year, giving the Cardinals a potential four-year starter at the position.
The rest of the starters will likely remain the same. Creque and King will likely retain their roles as starting kicker and punter, respectively. King showed improvement as the season progressed; he averaged 40.23 yards per punt in his first six games, and upped it to 46.11 yards in the final seven games of the season.
Creque took over duties in mid-September and had a decent season, mostly hitting field goals inside of 45 yards. U of L did not allow a kickoff or punt return touchdown in 2016, but the Cardinals were 111th in touchbacks last year (11 total), and did not attempt a field goal of 50+ yards.
Moving to the other side of special teams, Alexander will be the main figure at punt returner. Holding the position since his arrival in 2015, he only has one touchdown so far, but has come close to scoring a couple more and has been Louisville’s best special teams ace since Trent Guy.
Louisville rotated several guys as kick returners last season, but the best options so far have to be wide receiver Traveon Samuel and cornerback Cornelius Sturghill. Samuel is a stark contrast to the taller receivers at 5’7″, but he has great burst and the team has been able to use him in several different ways. He had a kick return for a touchdown in 2015 against Clemson, and has been used as a slot receiver and even running back. Think of Samuel as a player like Dri Archer or Dexter McCluster, one where the coaches try to get him the ball on designed plays to let him get yards in space.
Sturghill is a popular pick as the team’s other kick returner for one reason: speed. Sturghill has regularly been charted as one of the fastest men on Louisville’s roster, but missed last season due to a gunshot wound. Now that he’s back, the redshirt sophomore is a contender to start at cornerback and be in line for a big role on special teams. His speed could add another wrinkle to the return game.
Key Reserves: Ryan Betlach (long snapper), Evan O’Hara (kicker), Russ Yeast (returner)
Betlach is a senior from Tates Creek High School, and brings the most experience of any long snapper currently on Louisville’s roster. He’ll add depth to the position, in any event that Hall gets injured this season.
Evan O’Hara is the only other kicker on Louisville’s roster with game experience. O’Hara started Louisville’s first three games, hitting 3-of-6 field goal attempts last season.
Another guy to watch is cornerback Russ Yeast. Yeast was an Under Armour All-American selection, but can play wide receiver and on special teams. The son of former Kentucky standout Craig Yeast, Russ is currently the backup behind Alexander on punts, but his fluid hips and acceleration could get him some reps as a returner this season.
Be sure to check out our other previews:
Jaire Alexander and Chucky Williams, AKA The “Tax Boys,” held court at media day. Jaire talks about his celebrity look-a-like, the possibility of doing the chicken prance again this year, the maturation of Lamar and Chucky says the new defense is simpler than Grantham’s. Read the rest of this entry
On Saturday, UofL Football held Media day 2017. They take the team picture, you eat breakfast with the entire media then comes the press conference & individual interviews with players & coaches. It had been Charlie Strongs final season since I had been there due to CSZ on 93.9. I missed it so much. I was excited to be there but not only for myself. I brought the newbys with me. Katie Goben & Cody Higdon. They both have been with the site less than a month & jumped at the opportunity to cover it. I brought old ironsides Jeff Nunn as well. He shared his thoughts on media day via photos. Katie & Cody had a great time during their first of many Media Days. Here is what they had to say about their first times…Enjoy!
I had the pleasure of attending U of L football media day and I took my camera. We at CSZ had the privilege of talking with all the coaches and many of the student athletes. We will be posting all the interviews very soon. I can’t seem to put into words what this experience was like, so you can just browse through the pics I snapped and try to get a feel for yourself. I also took a few pics of the progress of Papa John’s Cardinal stadium expansion. I hope you enjoy… Read the rest of this entry
“The Paul Hornung Award, now in its eighth season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission, and football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung.
Follow Jaire, Lamar and coach Petrino behind the scenes st ACC media day on the Mic’d up series from the GoCards Youtube channel.
First, let’s start by defining what a big or successful season is. To me I measure success by the win total set by Las Vegas. This year the total is 9 so if we win 9 regular season games then the season is successful. However, early season success often raises our expectations. It shouldn’t but it just does – it’s human nature. * See last season.* Maybe you have a different definition of a successful season and that’s perfectly okay. I love our fans having high expectations. Our goal every season should be nothing less than a national championship but there is absolutely nothing wrong with being happy after a 10 win season. Read the rest of this entry
Adding to the preseason hype, both Lamar Jackson and Jaire Alexander were named to the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award watch lists respectively. As you may remember, although Alexander’s stellar season was not enough to warrant being a Bednarik finalist, Jackson on the other hand won last year’s Maxwell Award, just one of many awards for the now junior QB.
This time of year is often referred to as the “Dead Period.” We are approximately 65 days away from college football and there is not much else going on. For me, it’s the time of year where I start watching games from the previous season on Youtube and start searching the internet to see what other conference rivals are saying about their expectations for the upcoming season. I always go on vacation the first week of July and it’s my yearly tradition to pick up a college and NFL football magazine at the airport to read on the plane. It’s my time to start preparing for my preseason predictions and brush up on transactions and projections for fantasy football. Read the rest of this entry
The 2017 ACC Football Kickoff, or as most like to call it – ACC Media Day, will be held on July 13-14 at the Westin Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C. No surprise to anybody, Louisville has chosen to send Lamar Jackson and Jaire Alexander as their two representatives.
Per ACC.com – The football student-athletes who will be attending the 2017 ACC Football Kickoff are: Read the rest of this entry
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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