The Cardinals spent the second half of Thursday's practice competing in their first real scrimmage of spring. As would be expected, the offense was able to move the ball often through the air. The defensive line was impressive at times stopping the run, but the occassional big run would break through, mostly around the corners.
Junior Stefan LeFors started with the first unit, while redshirt freshman Justin Rascati started play with the second. By the end of the scrimmage both had split equal time running with the first team offense.
A number of great receptions were made this afternoon, most frequently by junior Joshua Tinch. Tinch and fellow junior J.R. Russell were the most impressive. Sophomore Broderick Clark, who has been looking very good thus far, seemed to draw extra attention from Coach Paul Petrino during the first half of practice. It appears that Petrino is stressing the importance of techniques with Clark.
"I think guys are really trying to buy in to what we're teaching and they're trying to work on the little details and they're getting better," Coach Paul Petrino said when I asked about the progress of the receivers. "We still got a long ways to go, but we're definitely getting better and we've just got to keep coming out here and keep getting better every day."
Not only can Cardinal fans expect to see fewer penalties when the team takes to the field this fall, but they can also expect to see better sportsmanship as well. After a great catch and run by receiver J.R. Russell, he trotted into the endzone showboating. Coach Paul Petrino noticed and sprinted down the field to Russell and told him that we don't do that here and then had him do a few 'up's-down's' (push up type drill) Even more impressive was that Coach Petrino joined him in the exercise and then congratulated him on the nice play. Following practice I asked Coach Petrino about it.
"I want them to expect to make big plays," explained Petrino. "We don't need to do that stuff after they make a big play. Expect to make a big play and hand the ball to the official like it's expected. Everyone will know you're a big player, you don't need to do that stuff."
Junior Lionel Gates had a great scrimmage. Instead of dancing around the backfield waiting for an opening, as many have come to expect from him, he was quick to find the slightest opening and burst into it. His runs around the corners were equally as impressive. Senior T.J. Patterson seemed to take a few minutes to get going, but he had a couple of nice runs around the corner and an impressive reception as well.
Waisting No Time
The Bobby Petrino offense is definitely back in Louisville. The coaching staff has waisted no time inserting plays that you might not expect to see until late in spring or during fall practice. It's like a breath of fresh air when seeing all the different options that the offense has available to it on every down.