Strong pleased with effort in first scrimmage

Charlie Strong put his players through their first scrimmage this spring, and the Louisville coach was pleased with the effort of the Cardinals.

A lot has gone on in the first six practices of the spring in head coach Charlie Strong's second spring. However, injuries have slowed down a lot of what the head coach would like to see about his team in preparation for the 2011 season.

For the first time this spring, the Cardinals went through a full-blown scrimmage on Saturday morning to conclude the seventh day of spring drills.

This wasn't your typical practice - this was a 150 minutes of an all-out scrimmage that was full-go on everyone except the quarterbacks.

The team went through about 95 plays of a situational scrimmage, starting on the 45-yard line, coming out from the one-yard line, red-zone situations, third and long plays and finally goal-line situations.

Strong has stressed from Day One that each and every position on the roster is up for grabs, and the players played like it on Saturday. The Cardinals got a good look at a number of positions.

Plagued by injuries on both sides of the football, its hard to gauge what the Cardinals are really doing on the practice field because they have only seven healthy offensive linemen and six defensive lineman.

The defense made a number of big stops, forcing a number of turnovers, including interceptions by Shenard Holton and Marcus Smith. Randy Salmon was very disruptive on the short-yardage situations, while Dexter Heyman had a big day, including racing through to force a safety.

Quarterback Will Stein threw a pair of touchdown passes to Josh Chichester, a 16-yarder and a 59-yarder to the 6-foot-8 tight end. Wide receiver Josh Bellamy also had a big day catching the football.

Strong was pleased with the team's effort and attitude, but knows injuries have played a major role this spring.

"It's hard to really see what we have going on out there because we have so many guys injured," said the second-year head coach. "We have a lot of guys playing who haven't played much, but it's good that we are starting to build some depth. I was pleased with the effort and I thought there was a lot of good hitting.

The Cardinals will return to the field again on Monday at 4:15 p.m.

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