With 177 days left before the rivalry game between the Louisville and Kentucky football teams, the talk at the annual Governor's Cup Luncheon was more about the start of the new season than the last game of the season.
But there was still football talk at the Frankfort Country Club.
U of L head coach Bobby Petrino took the podium first and said he was "very excited" to be here especially this year because among the honorees for the game were two of his former assistant coaches - Jeff Brohm and Mike Cassity.
Brohm, the former U of L quarterback is the Western Kentucky head coach, while Cassity played at UK but also worked for Petrino at U of L and WKU and is an assistant on Brohm's staff.
The two other former U of L players honored were Tom Andrews and Gary Barnes. Former U of L coach Lee Corso was also in attendance for the afternoon festivities.
"It's kind of special for me to be here with Jeff going in," Petrino said. "And it's good to see coach Cassity (getting honored). It's kind of a special day for me to see both of those guys inducted."
Petrino said the U of L-UK game being played on the final weekend was his favorite "because that's where we have it now." He noted that he does like it at the end on "rivalry week."
But he also said it was big to open with Auburn this season.
"I always like to have an opening game with something to play for," he said. "It helps during the winter and summer time, keeping the guys motivated knowing there's something to play for."
Petrino didn't name any names but said "most" of the expected newcomers are in town and enrolled in classes, noting that two or three of the freshmen will arrive this weekend because they graduate on Saturday.
"We started workouts yesterday and it's great to see the guys back," Petrino said. "It's nice to see the vets back and see what they did in the month off. The newcomers are still trying to figure out what it's all about.
"We'll have two or three more guys join us on July 8 when that next semester starts."
Petrino said he feels "really good" about what his team has coming back on defense but called the offense a "work in progress," noting all of the losses the Cardinals had to the NFL ranks.
"We have to find the right combination on the offensive line," he said. "We'll have great competition at quarterback. We're not going to have a DeVante Parker (in the skill position) but I like the guys we have."
Petrino answering a question about Will Gardner noted the quarterback is ahead of schedule from his ACL surgery and said the junior "feels better than he ever has." The QB is expected to compete with Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin, Tyler Ferguson and incoming freshman Lamar Jackson for the starting spot.
Here's more from Petrino in the following interviews: