OVERVIEW OF PRACTICE
Working for a second straight without pads, the Cardinals worked for two hours inside the Trager Indoor Practice Facility on Tuesday afternoon.
Making sure the players have a strong understanding of the new terminology and formations used, the Cardinals coaching staff wasted no time in prepping them for the upcoming season. The method of choice is to force them to think on the fly and the best way to do so is to have a deep understanding of the play-calling.
The first, second and third squads will frequently rotate following every simulated play, and they have to do so quickly as the situation and call will change during the swap. In addition to simulating game speed, this process allows the coaches to see which players are able to adjust quickly and make plays.
A number of players have provided highlight moments during the first two days. Running back Domonique Brown, receivers DeVante Parker and James Quick, along with tight end Gerald Christian have all been regular offensive standouts. Among the defensive players having a good first two days, linebackers James Burgess and James Hearns, along with the reloading secondary, have stood out.
However, as defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said, "when the pads come on and it's real football, what can you do."
Through two days, the Cardinals are energized and making the transition appear smoother than some may have anticipated.
There is a reason that Bobby Petrino grinned when asked about his stable of running backs following the first day of spring practice. It is deep and talented.
At the top of the rotation is senior Dominique Brown, who has performed as such during the first two days. Brown, who led the Cardinals with 825 rushing yards last season, looks game ready. He's running with authority, hitting holes quickly, and proving to be an asset in the passing game. His leadership among his fellow backs is evident.
Brown, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season, is poised to become an even more dangerous threat in the Cardinals offense this fall.
The Cardinals lost seven players from a defense that finished among the nation's leaders last season, creating a number of opportunities for those next in line.
A noticable area of need is at safety where the Cardinals lost a pair of the nation's best in Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor. While their presence in the secondary will be missed, safeties coach Greg Brown has plenty of talent in his group.
Jermaine Reve and Gerod Holliman both gained valuable experience last season and have performed well early. Following redshirt seasons, Chucky Williams and Richard Benjamin also appear ready to compete for the open spots.
NAME TO WATCH
While not a new name, Matt Milton is certainly one to watch.
The 6-foot-5, 202-pound wide receiver is getting his fair share of looks working with the first team. The former Tennessee Volunteer was seldom used last season, appearing in just four games, but his size and ability to get to the ball has drawn the attention of Petrino and receivers coach Lamar Thomas.
Possibly reminding Petrino of former Cardinal receiver Mario Urrutia, should Milton's development will create an even more dangerous group of targets.
**In addition to Brown, all of the running backs have been peforming well. Brandon Radcliff has looked sharp and despite still not being fully healthy, Michael Dyer has shown flashes. Corvin Lamb is showing significant strides since his ACL injury.
Entering the group is midyear enrollee L.J. Scott. At 6-foot, 228-pounds, Scott has good size with deceptive speed and explosiveness.
**Senior offensive lineman John Miller drew praise from line coach Chris Klenakis and head coach Bobby Petrino during Tuesday's session.
**The Cardinals will scrimmage for the first time on Saturday. Open to the public, practice will begin at 10:00 a.m.