University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino starts his third spring football practice in his second stint with the Cardinals this afternoon with a roster stocked full of returning players.
But the difference this spring for U of L is the coaching staff.
Louisville begins spring ball at 3:50 p.m. - open to the public - with four new assistant coaches on he staff. The most significant is new wide receiver and offensive line coach Lonnie Galloway, who comes from West Virginia.
Chris Klenakis is now the other co-offensive coordinator and will stay on as the Cardinals' offensive line coach. Nick Petrino is the Cardinals' new quarterbacks coach, Keith Heyward is the new secondary coach, while Cort Dennison joins him on the defensive side of the ball.
"I’m really excited about Lonnie Galloway coming in and also coach Klenakis taking over the role as co-offensive coordinator, so I think it’s gonna be a really good match," Petrino said. "We’ve been working hard getting Lonnie caught up and also seeing some of the things he brings to the table, some different things offensively as far as scheme goes, some different things technique-wise that the receivers can utilize.
"I’m going to tell our receivers that it’s going to be a combination of what we’ve been doing and what makes us better, and we need to learn what makes us better and me better as a coach from what Lonnie’s knowledge and success has been. We need to utilize and learn. We’ve got a lot of time to work on that, but there’ll be a lot of long hours."
The Cardinals replaced four coaches but don't have to replace a lot of pieces on the field.
U of L returns 18 starters, including 10 on offense, and a total of 46 letterwinners from a team that won the Music City Bowl last season.
"We do have a lot of players back, so that’s exciting for us, and I think this is a spring that we really need to take some steps forward and get better, really improve," Petrino said. "We should be able to execute our offense and defense better and make more strides because of the experience coming back. When you look back on last spring, we had a lot of new faces. We knew there were going to be a lot of errors out there and we worked extremely hard to get better technically. I think this spring is one where we can really improve and get closer to where we’re working to get."