Jackson has done 'great job' preparing
University of Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson made huge jump last season during his preparation for the bowl game. This time, Jackson admits he hasn't had the same amount of time to put into his improvement.
Jackson missed a week of prep time because of winning the Heisman Trophy.
But that's not to say he won't be prepared and ready for the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Saturday when the Cardinals meet LSU at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
Jackson said earlier in the week that he was "ready to go" for the game and quarterback coach Nick Petrino said he has shown no rust since the first practice after he was back from the Heisman deal.
U of L coach Bobby Petrino also said he would be just fine.
"That was quite the experience for him . . . and there was some intense moments wondering whether he was going to win the award or not win the award," Bobby Petrino said. "I thought he handled it great. I thought he did a tremendous job representing our football team and the University of Louisville. I did think it took a little toll on him, wore him out a little bit.
"So when we first came back and got back in the routine of practice and lifting and conditioning, it took him a few days to get lack to Lamar. But he's a guy with a tremendous amount of energy. He loves going out and practicing. He loves being around his teammates and he's done a great job in our bowl preparation."
Kelsey will start his 51st career game
Senior linebacker Keith Kelsey will start his 51st and final game for the Cardinals on Saturday.
Kelsey has 81 tackles this season and has 299 for his career. The native of Gainesville, Fla., had 107 tackles as a junior and then opted to come back for his senior season. He picked up his degree earlier this month.
"We're going to miss Keith a lot," Petrino said. "He's a young man that truly tries to do what the coaches are asking you to do and influence the other players on the team to do that in the right way. He also is a great player, loves playing the game and practicing. And I think what he does in practice helps everybody on our team in his attitude and how much he's improved his body and how much he takes care of it.
"He's just a great example for what it is to be a true student athlete. He did graduate here in December, which is a great thing. He had that decision last year whether I stay and graduate or do I come out, and I think it truly was important for him to graduate."
SEC in a bowl game
Louisville's all-time record against the SEC is 19-35-1 but the Cardinals are 3-1 against the SEC in bowl games.
U of L beat Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl, Florida in the 213 Sugar Bowl and Texas A&M in last year's Music City Bowl.
The lone loss to an SEC team in a bowl game was two years ago when Georgia beat the Cardinals in the Belk Bowl.
U of L is 3-3 in bowl games under Petrino.
Bowl game No. 21 for the Cardinals
Louisville is 10-9-1 and will be playing in a bowl game for the 21st time in school history.
The Cardinals have won six of their last eight bowl games and have the 16th longest active streak in the country by making it to a bowl game for the seventh consecutive season.
U of L will play for the first time in the Citrus Bowl, which is the 16th different bowl the program has played in.
Only two true freshmen
U of L has only used two true freshmen this season - wide receiver Seth Dawkins and linebacker Malik Staples - from last year's recruiting class. The rest of the class did redshirt.
Petrino said Staples would have to play some because of injuries on defense in this game. His reps have been limited to just a few with mainly his workload coming on special teams prior to this game.
Petrino said he was "very excited" about some of the young guys who have redshirted.