A notebook of University of Louisville football items as the Cardinals head into spring football practice.
The first spring practice is slated for 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and is open to the public.
Lamar Jackson making 'strides' on improvement
Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson "really improved" during the weeks leading up to the Music City Bowl in December. And that was obvious by his performance.
Jackson was named MVP after passing for 227 yards and rushing for 226 yards in the win over Texas A&M.
Now, heading into spring practice Petrino said he wants to see more improvement from Jackson.
"I feel like Lamar really made a lot of strides in our bowl preparation in his ability to do well under center and his footwork and his understanding of defenses," Petrino said. "Those were a great improvement from the end of the season until how he played in the bowl game. And you saw that happening in practice. You’ve just got to build on that, continue to get his footwork right.
"I want him to be able to have a lot of confidence in his accuracy, and most of that for him starts with his footwork and being in the proper position. Just being more consistent in throwing the ball with accuracy and timing and really growing up and maturing in the passing game."
Fields limited in spring ball
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said the Cardinals are "pretty good" health wise heading into spring ball as nearly all of the returning players are expected to participate.
Linebacker Devonte Fields will be "limited" because of offseason shoulder surgery. Petrino said he would work his way back in but is likely not going to do any contact drills during the spring.
Petrino also said Trevon Young, who broke his hip in the Music City Bowl, will sit out spring practice. But the head coach said the doctors have been "real encouraged" by the progress of Young.
Petrino said Young's status for the fall is still uncertain.
Where does Reggie play?
When asked what position group junior Reggie Bonnafon would work with this spring, Petrino smiled:
"That's a great question. It's a great question," Petrino said. And one that has multiple answers.
Petrino said Bonnafon, still listed as a quarterback after starting the season as U of L's starter a year ago, would work with the running backs and also the wide receivers but still stick some with the quarterbacks.
Bonnafon accounted for 639 total yards last season despite not playing in three games and being limited in several other games. He threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 175 yards and had 105 yards receiving.
"We’ve got to get him the ball," Petrino said. "So how do we get the ball in his hands because we know he’s dynamic? We’ve also got to give him the experience to protect the quarterback because we tried to limit that as much as possible last year, although when he did it he did a good job."
Offensive line improvement
Offensive line coach Chris Klenakis said he's excited to see the "improvement and development" of the offensive line that came together late in the season last year. The Cardinals had four new starters last season.
This time, the Cardinals return Geron Christian and Kenny Thomas - who played as true freshmen - Lukayus McNeil - who played as a redshirt freshman - and Kiola Mahoni and Tobijah Hughley on the line.
"We've got some guys coming back," Klenakis said. "I'm excited to get back to work with them."
Klenakis pointed out Chandler Jones, who was a redshirt player last season, as one who could surprise this spring.
"He's where those guys who played last year were," Klenakis said. "I'm excited about him."
Louisville starts practice on Tuesday at 3:50 p.m. with the spring game set for April 16 at 1 p.m.
U of L will have open practices on March 29 and 30 and April 5 and 6. All practices begin at 3:50 p.m.