Quick ready to be the guy at Louisville

University of Louisville junior wide receiver James Quick is the veteran of the receivers for the Cardinals' and he's ready to step up into the role many expected - a go-to guy. The highest-ranked recruit in school history hasn't had the stellar career he wanted, so now is the time that Quick thinks he can make amends.

The answer was simple for James Quick.

The University of Louisville junior wide receiver didn't even have to think twice when he was asked last week if he felt like he needed to step up his games this season for the Cardinals.

"Absolutely," Quick responded.

The former Trinity High School All-American is the most experienced receiver returning for the Cardinals. He's the only player on last year's roster who caught nine or more passes that's returning and he's become a leader.

"He's doing a really nice job," offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said, "He's really improved, he's really working hard and he's really become a leader for that group. He's doing a nice job for us."

Quick said a big thing in the offseason is making sure that "I have zero drops this season," after finishing his first two years at U of L with more than he would like to remember.

"I'm just trying to do what I can to help this team," Quick said. "Last year, it was basically a learning curve for me. It was a totally new offense for me and it was more learning. But now that I know the offense, I feel more confident.

"I can come out and just play. Last year, it was a good year but not really what I expected."

Quick, who finished last season with 36 catches for 566 yards and three touchdowns, has been moved into the slot position and will primarily play on the inside this season.

"Being on the inside helps me and it's a big change," he said. "I'm not used to going up against bigger guys. But then again those bigger guys are not used to running with fast guys. So they either have to guard me or tackle me."

U of L coach Bobby Petrino, who challenged Quick in the spring to eliminate the drops, said he's been pleased with the effort he's seen on and off the field from Quick.

"He's doing a really nice job leading by example," Petrino said. "He just needs to be consistent looking the ball into his hands. When he looks it in and actually sees it with a tuck, he's got good hands. His issue is when he tries to run before he's got the ball."

Quick said he's not expecting to replace U of L star DeVante Parker, but is hoping to guide the group that can come up with a few guys that can help take the sting off losing the All-American.

"It’s going to take everybody,” he said. "We’re going to need every receiver we have on our roster to replace DeVante Parker. And that’s not a problem because we have the guys to do it."

As a junior, Quick ranked second in catches and yards on the team and also average per catch at 15.7 yards - and the leader in all of those categories was Parker, who missed the first seven games. Parker is now with the Miami Dolphins.

"James' problem is that sometimes he’s too fast," wide receiver coach Lamar Thomas said. “He wants to continue to run before he gets the ball. I think he’s made a conscious effort this summer to get better at that. He’s done a great job.

"He loves to practice. He goes 100 percent and I think he's in for a good year."

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