Sanford previews Saturday's scrimmage

Louisville will conduct a major scrimmage Saturday morning that offensive coordinator Mike Sanford told will go a long way toward determining several key positions, including quarterback.

Louisville wrapped up the two-a-day portion of fall camp Thursday, and prepared Friday morning for a major scrimmage on Saturday that will go a long way toward determining several key starting positions on offense that are up for grabs, including quarterback.

Will Stein entered camp earlier this month with the edge at quarterback, and it appears it's still the junior's job to lose heading into Saturday's scrimmage, especially considering freshman Teddy Bridgewater has missed practice time with "nagging" injuries.

"We're making progress," Louisville offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said of his quarterbacks. "Will has been practicing every day. Dominique Brown has been a little beat up and Teddy's been off and on. It's nothing serious, but he's had a few nagging things where he's been able to practice some but not all the time. We just need to keep working those guys."

Sanford said Saturday's scrimmage will be vital in determining several positions battles.

"In general, for every position, it's very important," Sanford said. "We've got a lot of undecided positions on offense. We've got a lot of things going on the offensive line, back up positions. How the receiver thing is going to work itself out. There are a lot of positions that we're going to be making decisions on starters very soon, including quarterback."

Mario Benavides is the only returning starter on the offensive line, though he has missed practice time recently with a foot injury. Alex Kupper and Ryan Kessling started camp as the starters at tackle, while Jake Smith and Kamran Joyer worked at guard. Benavides' injury has caused some disruption as Joyer has taken his place at center, while true freshman John Miller is getting reps at guard with the first unit.

"I still think that thing is in flux," Sanford said. "We're doing some experimenting with some other things and we'll see how it all works out. We need to take a look at the scrimmage tomorrow and see where we're at."

Earlier this week, Charlie Strong's staff made the decision to move freshman Lorenzo Mauldin from defense to tight end to provide more depth behind Josh Chichester. The 6'4, 230-pound Mauldin played both tight end and defensive end in high school, and Sanford sounded excited about his potential.

"He's a really good athlete," Sanford said. "He has a ton of athletic ability and he can run and catch. He has all the things you're looking for. He's just young. He's a freshman and needs to grow up. When he does he's going to be a good player."

Freshmen wide receivers DeVante Parker, Michaelee Harris and Eli Rogers have made solid impressions so far during camp and all three should play this season.

Sanford says Corvin Lamb will play this season, particularly in short yardage situations.
"All three of them have excellent ability," Sanford said. "They've been through training camp, they're a little tired and beat up and learning the system. Once they get out of that, and obviously there's an urgency right now because we're 13 days away from playing, they'll develop as the season goes on and know what to do and where to line up every time."

While Jeremy Wright and Victor Anderson are expected to be the standouts at running back, Sanford had positive things to say about sophomore Senorise Perry and freshman Corvin Lamb.

"Both Corvin and Senorise have been a little beat up, they've practiced but are beaten up," said Sanford. "But I expect big things out of both of them."

Sanford expects Lamb, a 2010 signee who sat out last season after failing to qualify, to play this season. Lamb, a 5'9, 205-pound back from Miami, Fla., has emerged as a force around the goal line.

"I don't know how much (he'll play), but I think you've got to have a good stable of backs to play," said Sanford. "He's a really good short yardage, goal line runner. He's a good runner. He has good vision and he's a strong, physical back. Plus, he has the speed to hit (the hole)."

Rookies Impress Bellamy

Senior wide receiver Josh Bellamy has emerged as Louisville's top wide receiver during fall camp and he's expected to have a big season.

While Louisville's staff is excited about Bellamy's potential, the well-built senior wide receiver has been impressed with Louisville's freshmen trio of Eli Rogers, DeVante Parker and Michaelee Harris.

"They all work hard at what they're doing and trying to learn," Bellamy said. "When we go in meeting rooms, they pull out their notepads and write down everything.

"Eli can catch real good. He's very focused when he comes out. DeVante learns very quickly. If he doesn't know a play today, we'll take him in and show him and he'll do it the right way the next day. He can be easily coached."

Though Harris and Rogers have been dealing with minor hand injuries in camp, Bellamy said both have been making plays during practice for the Cardinals offense.

"Michaelee Harris has a cast on (his hand) and Eli has like three fingers (hand injury), but they're catching everything that comes their way," Bellamy said. "Everybody is making plays. I feel like all of them are going to play. We're going to have a strong group."

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