On Saturday, as the Cardinals had they're best day of spring during the two-hour, 120+ play scrimmage held inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
"I thought we improved and got better throughout the week – offense and defense, special teams," said head coach Bobby Petrino. "I'm happy with how our special teams have improved."
The improvement was evident as both sides of the ball registered big plays. Offensively, first team quarterback Will Gardner connected with DeVante Parker, Eli Rogers, James Quick and others for big plays. Senior running back Dominique Brown may have been the player of the day with his performance, which included a 70-yard touchdown run.
"I've been waiting for a couple weeks now to see the big plays pop out," Petrino said afterward. "The big runs after catch. The running backs break tackles and go, and they did, and I think some of that is a credit to the offensive line to start finishing blocks. Receivers blocking down field when the running backs were running. Being more accurate with our passes, so you can get runs after the catch. I thought we took some steps forward offensively on our ability to make big plays."
While the offensive made plays, the defense was also getting into the backfield and disrupting the passing game.
"Defensively we are really showing we know how to rush the passer," Petrino said. "Some times there are sacks out there, but we continue to let the play go on, so other guys get work."
(For more on the Cardinals defense, click here.)
However, the offense provided numerous highlight plays. Gardner found Rogers three times during a touchdown drive, including a perfectly thrown spiral into multiple coverage that picked up 40 yards. Later, Gardner would also connect with Parker and Quick, with each making plays after the catch that drew applause from the fans in attendance.
"It's great to see those guys making plays," Petrino told Cardinal Authority. "I think our secondary has been providing tight coverage, but today we were a little more accurate with the passes, a little crisper with our routes and we were able to break some tackles. That's one of the things we haven't done really well until today."
Petrino's grinned reached it's pinnacle when discussing the play of Dominique Brown, along with the blocking of the line and receivers down field.
"I was happy with the long runs," he said. "As much as the passing game and making big plays there, it's really nice to get big chunk plays out of the running game.
"The long touchdown down the sideline by (Dominique) Brown was a great run and a very well blocked play by offensive line and the receivers on the secondary. It's fun to get those big chunk plays in the running game."
The Cardinals begin their final week of spring practice on Tuesday. Spring practice will come to a close with the annual Spring Game on Friday evening.
"We just want to come out and get better on Tuesday and Wednesday and not even thing about Friday.