End of camp nears for Cardinals

Thursday marked the 17th consecutive day of practice for the ninth-ranked Cardinals. University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford provided an update as the team nears the start of game preparation.

Thursday evening practice marked the 17th straight day of fall for the ninth-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals.

"It was another good day of work," said head coach Charlie Strong. "As we get closer to game day, what we are doing now is all about preparation and focus. Now we've started to work on Ohio, so the guys know the plays. Offensively they need to know what defenses Ohio is going to show. Our defensive players need to know offensively the scheme that the are going to present to us."

As the Cardinals begin to focus on it's September 1 season opener, Strong was satisfied by demands and expectations that his players faced during the first two weeks of fall camp.

"With this camp you had to guard against complaceny. You had to guard against guys just feeling good about themselves. I talked about it earlier, about how hard we wanted to make it and I think it was pretty tough and demanding for our guys."

Strong's practices are high-paced. Little time, if any, is wasted going from one station or drill to another. There wasn't a set routine, as each day out could bring something new for the players.

"They responded very well to that," Strong explained. "Each day they didn't know what was going to happen and our coaches did a good job of keep pushing them and they came out and the leadership took over. Some practices, you know how guys are, they kind of get beat up and they want to drag, but the leaders picked one another up and were able to get them through the practice."

Some of the Cardinals that suffered minor injuries during camp are returning to action in time to prepare for the Bobcats.

"It's been very minor with guys that are beat up right now," said Strong, adding that they are being safe with running back Senorise Perry and that with two-a-day's now over some players are able to practice, "but we are still holding guys, also."

Getting guys back in time for game preparation is a priority.

"As is always the case," said defensive coordinator Vance Bedford. "Right now we have some guys coming back and they're looking pretty good. Marcus Smith is feeling good right now."

The team will practice one more time prior to the end of fall camp and the start of game preparation. The Cardinals will practice on Friday and will then turn their full attention to Ohio on Saturday.

NOTES:

Governor's Cup

Charlie Strong commented on the news that beginning in 2014 the annual Battle for the Governor's Cup between rivals Louisville and Kentucky will be held at the end of the regular season.

"It's a great rival game and whenever we play the game doesn't matter to me. What we have to do know, even with both programs, with that game being at the end...now with their recruiting and the recruiting we're having, that game could become a very significant game there at the end."

Preston is key

The senior linebacker quickly stepped into the leadership role during spring practice and has continued to excel with that responsibility in fall camp.

"Preston is having an outstanding camp," said Bedford. "He has to be our leader this year and if he steps up to the plate and has a great year, we're going to have a great season this year."

Gaines improving

Converted wide receiver Charles Gaines continues to improve at cornerback. While he's shown the ability to make a play on the ball, he's been focusing on improving his tackling during camp. He'll get his shot at putting his improving tackling to the test as a member of the special teams unit to start the season.

"He's trying to tackle and he has a chance to get on the football field right now," said Bedford. "He's not there yet, but he's working on it. We'll start him off with special teams and if he does a good job on special teams. If does a good job on special teams, you'll find on the field for us on defense."


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