Louisville football practice update

Cardinal Authority was at Louisville football practice on Wednesday morning and checks in with center Mario Benavides, who isn't injured, and wide receivers coach Ron Dugans, who is working in a new player.


University of Louisville senior center Mario Benavides said because of his past history he can see where a rumor of another injury might happen.

But despite reports on Tuesday night, Benavides was at practice on Wednesday morning and said he hasn't suffered a shoulder injury.

"I'm fine," he said. "I'm all good. Honestly, it's kind of humbling and kind of an honor because so many people were worried about me. I think that just shows the type of fans that we have out there.

"My initial reaction wasn't shock or anger, it was more like ‘Wow, these people are really, really concerned for me.' People were like ‘Forget my life' and ‘God hates me' and things like that and I was like I am fine.

Benavides said he's healthy – and has remained that way – for the first time since his freshman season. He's suffered numerous injuries during his career and missed the first three games last season with a staph infection.

"This is the first camp that I have felt great and God willing it will stay that way," he said. "I have been practicing and have been doing everything in camp."

Benavides said he put on his Twitter account soon after the report that he was "fine" and then he started joking around with teammates on Twitter.

"We were having fun with it, that's kind of how we reacted," Benavides said. "We were making up all sorts of things. I claimed that Will (Stein) had grown five inches and things like that. People believe everything they hear."


Wide receiver coach Ron Dugans said Clemson transfer Bryce McNeal was in full pads for the first time on Wednesday morning.

McNeal, who is enrolled in a graduate degree program at Louisville and has two seasons of eligibility remaining, just arrived on campus last Saturday.

"He's coming a long," Dugans said. "He's kind of swimming a little bit because with a new offense, it's kind of new to him. But he's trying to get it.

"We're studying and getting in some extra time."

A former four-star prospect and U.S. Army All-American, McNeal played in 12 of the 13 games two years ago – starting three games as a redshirt freshman – and had 19 receptions for 187 yards. He played in three games last season at Clemson before leaving the team, but staying in school to graduate.

Dugans said he could already tell that McNeal has the talent.

"Just going through drills you can tell he has some ability, quick feet and good hands," Dugans said. "I just have to get him out there and see what he can do. He shows some flashes, but now I want to see some consistency in doing it."

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound McNeal will compete with a wide receiver group that took a hit last week when projected starter Michaelee Harris suffered a knee injury.

Dugans said McNeal has already been thrown into the mix with the others.

"You don't have time to wait," Dugans said. "You have to get him out here and that's why he is here, come in and compete. I just have to teach him what he needs to know and then let him go out there and do it."

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