Petrino encouraged by leadership
Despite two first half turnovers that resulted in 14 Auburn points, the players remained focused and confident in the locker room and along the sideline in the second half.
“I was encouraged by our leadership,” said Petrino. “I really like our team. I like the attitude of our guys and they certainly showed their competitive spirit.”
Even after falling behind 24-3 following Auburn's opening second half possession, the energy and determination remained. The veterans continued to encourage the many newcomers that were making their debuts.
“There was a lot of positive energy, a lot of positive talk on the sideline when we were behind and sometimes you don't have that,” he continued. “That was encouraging.”
A lot of good things
Looking through the final stat book from the Chick-fil-A Kickoff and what one finds is a game that saw the Cardinals perform strong in most categories. Louisville recorded more first downs, more rush rushing and passing yards, had 19 more offensive plays, limited Auburn to its lowest offensive showing in three years, converted a higher percentage of third down attempts and were a perfect 3-for-3 on forth down tries.
“We did a lot of good things,” Petrino said. “We did a lot of good things on third down. We did a lot of good things defensively.”
However, turnovers and untimely penalties, areas that can be improved upon immediately are areas in need of attention as the Cardinals begin prep work for Houston.
“There's a lot of things that we need to improve to get ready for Saturday.”
The next step
Lamar Jackson's debut in the Cardinals uniform wasn't perfect and it ended with a loss, but it certainly provided a glimpse into the potential future that he has behind center at Louisville.
On Monday he was announced as the starter for week two, but Petrino was quick to point out that the rookie still has room to grow.
“Understanding how to prepare for a game,” Petrino explained. “Getting better in practice. Focusing in the meeting. Understanding that this is college football now and you get in the training you when you supposed to and doing everything like you're supposed to.”
While the Cardinals didn't suffer many injuries, the one's that did occur were costly.
Junior receiver James Quick suffered a severe sprained ankle in the game and is out indefinitely.
“I don't know the amount of time that he'll miss,” Petrino said on Monday, adding that the Louisville Trinity product is “still in a lot of pain.”
Tight end Cole Hikutini didn't return after injuring his shoulder against the Tigers, but is responding to treatment. Petrino said the junior is a possibility for Saturday.
Petrino also noted that quarterback Will Gardner “tweaked his ribs a little bit” in practice last week.
Here's the Louisville depth chart for the Houston game: