OVERVIEW OF PRACTICE
The University of Louisville held practice No. 6 of the spring practice period in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cardinals were in full pads for this session, which went about two and a half hours. It was action packed and hard hitting. Really, the team never takes a break during the practices.
One drill in particular that stood out on this day was a running back/linebacker drill where the backs started 10 yards back and the linebackers met them about half way. Let's say the backs were tough to bring down on this day. It was a spirited, hard-hitting five minutes.
Bobby Petrino was right in the middle of the drill, really getting on the linebackers for not hitting hard enough during the drill.
Also, not surprising because of Petrino but somewhat nice for fans to hear the team practices punts and punt returns each and every practice. The guys get a lot of reps on those, including James Quick, Kai De La Cruz, Robert Clark and Eli Rogers returning punts.
A lot high praise in the first week for true running back L.J. Scott and he looked sharp once again in the Wednesday drills.
Scott is still getting some reps with the first team during drills.
But on this day is was clear that Dominique Brown was the feature back and he looks even better than he did last season.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Brown ran for 825 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and looks the part as one of the "studs" in the Petrino offense this season. He was running all over the place and catching a ton of ball out of the backfield as the No. 1 back.
In the drill with the backs and linebackers, Brown ran over linebacker Lyn Clark on two occasions and also trucked James Burgess.
Louisville's defensive backs will be tested this season and a lot of talent must be replaced. But one of the top returning players is cornerback Charles Gaines.
The speedy, talkative 5-foot-11, 190-pound Gaines made a lot of plays last season and is expected to be a leader. He had five interceptions and seven pass breakups as a sophomore and added 22 tackles.
"He works so hard," cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley said. "Overall, he's a pretty darn good athlete. He still has some things he has to work on, but he's working hard. He knows he can take his game to the next level."
Gaines made two plays on DeVante Parker during Wednesday's practice, getting his hands on ball so Parker couldn't catch them.
NAME TO WATCH
Pedro Sibiea has been back and forth from offense to defense and now offense again.
The 6-foot-3, 294-pound Sibiea is now running as the right guard with the No. 1 unit. The staff is looking for someone to step in and take over that role as right guard and he's a good option.
Sibiea isn't the biggest of guys on the line but he's strong, solid and very athletic and physical. He could be the missing piece on that line with the three returning starters - Jake Smith, Jamon Brown and John Miller - and Ryan Mack, who is running as the right tackle.
****Former quarterback Luke Brohm getting a lot of reps as the H-back/tight end/hybrid player. The ex-St. Xavier High standout showed great hands with several tough catches. He should be able to contribute next season.
****Former U of L player Bilal Powell was at practice on Wednesday and watched from the sidelines. George Durant, a linebacker from last season's team, was also watching.
Brownsburg, Ind., offensive lineman Evan Mallory was on an unofficial visit at practice.
****Will Gardner had a solid day. He missed a few throws but they were few and far between on this day and down the field he was money. Bobby Petrino said he was "really on" in this practice.
****B.J. Dubose looks in better shape this season and is very active and will be a stalwart on the defensive side.