DOMINIQUE FINE TUNED
After missing the 2012 season with a knee injury, junior running back Dominique Brown began spring practice last month in impressive fashion. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound back drew praise from coaches and teammates for his play and rebuilt frame during the early stages of spring ball and he continues to be one of the top performers during the practice season.
"We've had a lot of backs that haven't been able to practice for an assortment of reasons, but Dominique Brown, I'm really excited about him because he's playing the best football he has played since he's been here," said Carter. "He's healthy, he's leaner and he knew the system already. He's really fine tuned his game and I'm really excited about him."
Brown's consistency and developing leadership also impresses Carter.
"He's been consistent since day one. There's no difference in him from practice 1 to practice 13. He's done a really good job and he's shown some leadership, which we needed him to do."
The play of defensive lineman turned fullback B.J. Butler in the Cardinals Sugar Bowl win was a signal that a bulkier backfield was a new wrinkle being added to the U of L offense. Butler, who caught 2 passes for 43 yards in the Sugar Bowl, and sophomore Jalen Harrington, provide the Cardinals ground game the bulk, while also providing more options than a fullback typically might.
"In west coast system, a 2-back system, you want to have a fullback that has size, because you want that thump to be able to move those linebackers and displace them, so those guys give us that, but what they also give us is athleticism," explained Carter. "You can turn around and hand them the ball because they are athletes. B.J. was quarterback in high school and Jalen was a tailback in high school, so those guys have already handled the ball and it adds another dimension to what you do. And, when you take them and line them at 2-back and you flex them out and go to empty, it takes it to another level, also."
Running back Senorise Perry was having an excellent 2012 before a knee injury ended his season. The senior appeared in 10 games last season and finished second on the team with 705 rushing yards.
Unable to practice, Perry continues to rehab with the goal of suiting up this season.
"He's doing great," said Carter. "He's put himself in a good spot and he just needs to continue his rehab. If he's not ready, if he's not 100%, we'll redshirt him. If he's ready, he'll play."
Carter echoed what the coaching staff has stressed since the start of spring practice, the focus during these few weeks of training is to improve at every position.
"We're just trying to make sure that we do things better. Do things that we do even better than last year. #5 knows the offense inside and out and he's done things to make himself better and the better #5 is, the better everybody will be."
Louisville had a three-star running back at practice on Wednesday night.
L.J. Scott of Marion, Ohio, Harding High School watched the Cardinals practice and chatted with head coach Charlie Strong and assistant Kenny Carter for a few minutes afterwards.
Scott is a 6-foot, 215-pound running back. He's ranked as the No. 51 RB in the Class of 2014 by Scout.com.