Weekly notebook: Louisville football

Cardinal Authority presents a few notebook items, including who will start at quarterback, for the University of Louisville football program. The Cardinals will play at Clemson on Saturday at 3:30 p.m on ESPNU.


It's the biggest question of the week surrounding the University of Louisville football program: Will Gardner or Reggie Bonnafon?

Bonnafon is a true freshman who has started each of the past two games for the Cardinals after Gardner, who started the first four games, was injured against Florida International.

Bonnafon is 2-0 as a starter and Gardner is now back from the injury and is expected to be able to participate on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Clemson.

But who is going to start is still a question.

"That's something I'm going to keep between me and (offensive coordinator Garrick McGee) and everyone else," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said.

Petrino said both Bonnafon and Gardner had solid weeks of practice, noting that he's "excited about both of them."

Bonnafon has completed 42 of 74 passes for 531 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He has run for 77 yards and two TDs despite being sacked seven times.

Gardner has completed 63 of 112 for 798 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He's had a bunch of balls, including seven against Virginia, batted down.

DeVante Parker UPDATE

U of L star receiver DeVante Parker missed the first six games of the season with a broken bone in his foot. He has been practicing this week.

Parker, considered one of the top wide receivers in the country, could play this weekend at Clemson. Petrino said on Monday he was "good to go," after being cleared from the injury.

"He practiced, but we have to see how he reacts to it," Petrino said. "And that's the big thing. When you're off with an injury for that long - besides the foot - it's all the other things that go on when you haven't practiced – changing direction, elevating, all those things. We just have to wait and see with him."


**** Junior defensive back Jermaine Reve could see his first action of the season this week. Reve had played in every game the past two years but has been out since spring practice with a knee injury.

“He’s a guy that’s gotten some reps over the last couple weeks,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “Hopefully we can mix him in there a little bit. He’s a guy that can give us some versatility in the back end. We’ll see how he does the next two days and how he feels after practice. The key is how he feels after the practice as he gets more reps.”

****Both Grantham and linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin were excited for a raucous environment Saturday.

“It’s an awesome place,” Grantham said. “I think their fans are very passionate about their football. They’re loud and they’re very supportive of their team. It’s why you come to college, it’s why you come to play. It’s our chance to be in front of a very vocal, hostile crowd from that standpoint and go play. I think it’s fun. It’s why you work. It’s why you prepare. They’ve certainly done a great job of representing the school and what they do.”

Said Mauldin, “We love crowds like this. This is what we come to college to play football for, crowds like Clemson. We got a bit of a taste of it last week when we played against Syracuse so it’s not going to be too much of a challenge. We’ve just got to play our role.”

****Safety has been a bright spot for Louisville despite losing four-year starter Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor, the 18th overall pick in last year’s draft. The reason: the emergence of Gerod Holliman. His seven interceptions lead the country and comprise more than half the team’s 12 picks, also tops in the nation.

In discussing Holliman’s development, Grantham explained how coaches and players get a better feel and understanding of each other as a season progresses.

“You have a better feel as you move forward in the season about what guys can do. Coaching is about relationships too …. Now that we’ve had some experiences together we can recall back to, ‘It’s like this in Game 1, Game 2.’ Those kind of things. Any time you can develop that relationship with a guy who’s kind of your quarterback in the back end and you say, ‘Here are the things I’m looking for.’ I think it’s important as a (defensive) play caller to say here’s how I’m going to call the game. Anticipate these types of calls and go over that so guys can play fast.”

****In addition to leading the country in total defense and interceptions, UofL’s rushing defense (58.3 yards per game) and opponents’ third-down conversions (just 21 of 91) also rank first in the country.

****Look for more of a power offense out of Clemson than you might imagine based on their gaudy numbers.

“Little bit of a misnomer (in that) they’re really more of a two-back team than people think, even though they have a tight end in the game,” Grantham said. “They run traditional two-back runs. They just do it out of a different look.”

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