OVERVIEW OF PRACTICE
Perhaps with the team's first scrimmage just a day away, head coach Bobby Petrino was quick to voice his displeasure during the early stages of Friday's practice. No single player, position group, or coach, on either side of the ball was immune. The purpose is the drive for perfection - at every position, on every play.
The drive for perfection was something we heard often inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Position coaches were pushing their players to make the correct reads, alignments and movements with precision.
The barking was short lived, as the players responded with a solid third day of spring practice. While there are certainly struggles and room for improvement, this team is grasping the new philosophies.
The last time Bobby Petrino took over the reigns as the Cardinals head coach, he created an offense that was equally effective on the ground as through the air. His 2003 squad was the only team in the nation to average over 220 yards in both the passing and running games. Three backs – Lionel Gates, Eric Shelton and Michael Bush - rushed for more than 500 yards that season, helping Petrino build the 'feed the studs.'
Led by senior Dominique Brown, Petrino certainly has a stable of backs that would allow him to once again, 'feed the studs.' Brown could flirt with 1,000 yards this fall, while Brandon Radcliff is certain to be a frequent contributor. Michael Dyer continues to improve following a sports hernia and Corvin Lamb continues to progress with his ACL rehab.
Also competing for potential time this fall is true freshman L.J. Scott. The mid-year enrollee combines great size (6'0, 228) with good speed and agility. Scott, a product of Marion (Oh.) Harding, rushed for over 2,500 yards during his prep career.
In what shouldn't be considered a surprise, linebacker James Burgess has performed very well during springs first days.
The 6-foot, 227-pound junior, who finished last season third on the team with 71 tackles, has been very active in simulated work. A solid run-stopper, Burgess is also dangerous against the pass, displaying the ability to disrupt a route and make a play on the ball. He has three career interceptions.
NAME TO WATCH
Mid-year enrollee Trevon Young, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, continues to work with the first team defense. The 6-foot-4, 233-pound linebacker easily passes the eye test and has been moving well during the early stages of spring practice.
Rated as a four-star prospect by Scout.com, Young was a second team All-American last season after recording 44 tackles, including 13 sacks and 22 tackles for a loss.
**Gerod Holliman, Terell Floyd and Nick Dawson-Brents all had interceptions on Friday. Holliman, who is competing for an open safety spot, and Dawson-Brents have multiple picks during the first three days of spring drills.
**Senior wide receiver Eli Rogers made a couple nice catches on Friday.
**Future U of L quarterback Reggie Bonnafon watched a portion of the Cardinals practice.
**The first hour of Saturday's session will be a regular practice, with the second hour slated for a scrimmage. Practice begins at 10:00a.m. and is open to the public.