A notebook of items about Louisville football as the Cardinals prepare for Texas A&M and the Dec. 30 Music City Bowl

The University of Louisville football team will play Texas A&M on Dec. 30 in the Music City Bowl. Cardinal Authority will have all of your U of L football coverage leading into the game. Here's a notebook from the first day of practice:

Cards return to practice

The University of Louisville football team returned to practice on Friday in preparation for the Dec. 30 Music City Bowl to be played against Texas A&M at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.

It was the first of 15 bowl practices for the Cardinals.

"It was intense," quarterback Lamar Jackson said. "I was excited to get back out there."

Sophomore linebacker Stacy Thomas said it would take the Cardinals a few days to wipe away the rust.

"It's been a week and a half or so," he said. "But it won't take long. It was nice to be back out there."

Louisville will practice again on Sunday and then likely four times next week. The Cardinals will spend Christmas in Louisville and travel to Nashville on Dec. 26 and have four practices in the Music City.

Injury update

No official word on injuries after several players were banged up against Kentucky.

But linebacker Keith Kelsey said earlier in the week he expects to play after an ankle injury and Bobby Petrino says he expects running back Brandon Radcliff to be healthy against the Aggies.

Petrino will speak with the media again on Monday.

Stacy Thomas 'ready' to step in

With Kelsey out the entire second half of the UK game, sophomore Stacy Thomas got a taste of the future. He's expected to move into a starting role at linebacker next season for the Cardinals.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Thomas made two tackles and helped the Cardinals shut out the UK offense in the second half.

"Once I saw (Kelsey) was down, they were calling my name, and I knew my opportunity was here," Thomas said. "So I had to go out there and showcase what I could do on the field. It was my opportunity."

Thomas has 20 tackles this season and said he's "ready" to step in.

“I just realize my opportunity is just closer," he said. "Every day I come out and try to get better at my technique and also mentally. That way when next year does come around I will be ready to play."

Thomas has been a huge factor on special teams and has 20 tackles for the Cardinals this season.

Football team at basketball game

The U of L football team is expected to be at the men's basketball game on Saturday against Eastern Michigan.

It's expected the football team will be introduced during one of the timeouts in the first half.

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