U of L football: Bowl game notebook

The Russell Athletic Bowl game will be played in two days, so Cardinal Authority is bringing you the first installment of our Louisville bowl notebook. We'll have a notebook for the next few days, wrapping up events around the Cardinals.

SIBIEA CAME THROUHG WHEN NEEDED

Louisville junior defensive tackle B.J. Dubose is expected back for the Russell Athletic Bowl this Saturday against Miami, Fla., in the Orlando Citrus Bowl.

But when Dubose was missing for an undisclosed reason in the regular-season finale against Cincinnati, defensive line coach Clint Hurtt called the number of redshirt freshman Pedro Sibiea.

And the 6-foot-3, 275-pound native of Homestead, Fla., delivered.

In his first meaningful action during a game, Sibiea didn't record a tackle but Hurtt said he "played awfully well" up front for the Cardinals.

"He came in and did what he had to do, like our guys are supposed to do," Hurtt said. "In our system, it's the next man up."

Hurtt said Sibiea is a guy the Cardinals will count on more next season with the loss of Brandon Dunn and Roy Philon in the middle.

Dunn said it was nice to see Sibiea get some minutes.

"He came through big time," Dunn said. "His number was called and he came through. Coach told him early on he was going to play and he did and he came out and played his butt off. He's a young kid who has a lot of talent."

GARDNER IS ‘READY' TO GO

With the possibility that Teddy Bridgewater will enter the NFL Draft after this season, there have been plenty of questions about the quarterback position.

Redshirt freshman Will Gardner is the backup and at least one of the top defenders at U of L believes he will be a fine replacement for Bridgewater.

All-American safety Calvin Pryor said Gardner is "ready" for the starting role whenever Bridgewater turns pro and leaves school.

"In this program, Teddy is the guy now so Will don't get many looks," Pryor said. "But when he steps onto that field, I am certain he is going to be ready."

Gardner played in eight games this season, completing 8 of 12 passes for 112 yards and two TDs this season.

Preston Brown A LITTLE ‘JEALOUS'

Senior linebacker Preston Brown admitted he was a little envious of defensive lineman Brandon Dunn in the regular-season finale at Cincinnati.

Dunn was used as a fullback on offense, opening a hole for Dominique Brown on the touchdown run in overtime to win the game.

It was his first snap on offense. Dunn said offensive coordinator Shawn Watson put the package in the week before and opted to use it on the final play.

"I was jealous with me being a superstar running back in my high school days," Brown said with a laugh. "No, it was really cool seeing him go out there and get a chance on offense. It was real cool."

CARDS WANTS TO MOVE UP RANKINGS

The Cardinals are ranked as high as No. 16 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, while checking in at No. 18 in the BCS standings.

U of L center Jake Smith said this game is "absolutely" a spot where the Cardinals can prove something and move up in the rankings.

"That's out of our hands, but I would obviously love for us to finish in the top 10 where we started," Smith said. "But it depends on how everything plays out. We have to have a heckuva performance down in Orlando."

UDPATE FROM ORLANDO

The Cardinals visited Give the Kids the World resort to visit with some sick children on Thursday morning. Miami was also at the visit.

U of L then practiced for the last time. The Cardinals will meet with the media on Friday morning and then have a walk-through for the game.

The walk-through is closed.


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