Weekly Louisville football notebook

In less than 72 hours, the University of Louisville will kickoff the season with an opener against rival Kentucky. Here's the final preseason edition of the weekly U of L football notebook from Cardinal Authority.

STILL NO STARTER AT RUNNING BACK

The University of Louisville football staff has gone this long, so why name a starting running back at this point? Well, that's exactly what happened.

We won't know which one of the three running backs – Jeremy Wright, Senorise Perry or Dominique Brown – until just before kickoff on Sunday.

U of L head coach Charlie Strong said on his call-in show on WHAS-840 that he asked running back coach Kenny Carter before he left the football complex the question because he knew it would come up.

"He didn't have an answer," Strong said.

Carter said on Tuesday that it would likely be a decision made just prior to the game and said the race between the three players is "very close to being seamless. It may come down to when I wake up and think, ‘Hey he's the guy.' It's close."

Wright, who battled injuries much of last season, figures to be the frontrunner but Perry has drawn rave reviews this fall and has a ton of speed. Brown, a former quarterback, is more of a power back.

"Having three guys so close, we're a West Coast system, so that gives us the opportunity to play two guys at the same time," Carter said. "Whether it's one guy at a fullback, one guy at slot or what we call P, it helps us. We're going to line one guy up as a receiver, split him out, with two of them in the game. <'p>

"It's going to be fun and they will get to play plenty. All three of them."

KICKERS SPOTS STILL UP IN THE AIR

Carter said earlier this week that it would be until after Thursday's practice when the staff would know the starting placekicker and kickoff guy.

Josh Appleby – a true freshman - is expected to be the punter and is likely going to be the kickoff guy. Appleby and former Central Hardin star John Wallace – a redshirt freshman – were battling for kickoff duties.

Wallace and redshirt freshman Matthew Nakatani of Shelby County were battling for the placekicking duties.

"We'll make the decision after Thursday, once we got everything out," Carter said. "John without a doubt has a bigger leg but were very successful in high school, that's why they're here. We just have to make sure on everything.

"(Long snapper) Grant Donovan is the only guy who has played in a game (among the specialists), so we have to also make sure they get through all of the ups and downs of being nervous in the first game.

"But when it's all said and done and we get through that first kickoff or when that first field-goal happens, we should be alright and go from there."

CARTER HAS TO MAKE DECISIONS

Those are the only positions where the starters were not known heading into the final week of preparation for the opener.

Carter coaches both of those positions.

"I love it," Carter said with a smile. "I just love it.

"It's why you get into this profession. If you get a little shaken by having to make decisions, they you are in the wrong profession."

CARDS MUST PLAY BETTER AT HOME

After losing a total of nine games total in the first nine years of playing in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, the Cardinals have struggled the last five years.

In two years under Charlie Strong, U of L is 6-7 after going 3-4 two years ago and 3-3 last season. The Cards were 12-8 in the three-year Steve Kragthorpe-era.

Strong said several times during the preseason that after struggling for two years, his team needed to get tougher at home.

"It's critical for us, the home field is," Strong said. "We have great fan support and with the fans and support we get - we pack it in - the home field advantage should be great. I say to guys, 'They are here for a reason, let's go give them a show. Let's not go out and mess around and flutter around and all of a sudden we look up and we're down and we go and lose a football game'."

Strong added: "The games at home you have to win because it's so tough to go on the road and come away with a win."

STRONG WANTS TALK ON THE FIELD

Besides a few jabs on Twitter, there hasn't been a ton of trash talking coming from the U of L players during the preseason.

And that's how Strong likes it.

Strong said he strongly advised his players to walk a tight line when it came to chatter between the Cardinals and the UK players. He also said he didn't worry about where any billboards were placed anywhere in the state.

"When the game is played, you have to do your talking on the field," Strong said. "The key for us is to make sure we understand what we have to get it done with our football team. In the beginning there was some talking going on, once we got (a handle on it) then it all stopped.

"We just have to worry about ourselves and do our talking on the field.

RADCLIFF READY TO GO

Senior Scott Radcliff missed two days of practice during fall camp with a sprained MCL ligament in his left knee.

But he wasn't about to miss any more.

The former walk-on from Trinity High School is listed as the starting ‘H' receiver and said he's primed for a big senior campaign.

"I'm ready to help my team," Radcliff said. "I missed two practices but when I was missing I was around and helping the guys out.

"I was taking mental reps and I'm fine now."

Radcliff had eight catches for 83 yards and two TDs as a junior.

CARDS LOSE EIGHT FOR THE SEASON

Strong said his team came out of fall camp "pretty healthy," noting Michaelee Harris was the lone starter who is injured and out for the season. Harris suffered another torn knee ligament two weeks ago.

Six other players are out for the season, including Ohio State linebacker transfer Jordan Whiting, who is listed as having a knee injury.

Freshman Sid Anvoots (back), Tyon Dixon (foot), freshman Will Gardner (knee), Hunter Stout (knee), Chris Walker (knee) and Chris Zelli (knee) are also all listed as being out for the season.


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