Louisville held its first day of spring practice on Tuesday afternoon and head coach Bobby Petrino reported that the opening session was a positive one.
Highlighted by the return of a number of highly-experienced players on the offensive side of the ball, Petrino was pleased by what he saw from his team during the spring's first two-hour practice.
"It was fun being out there," Petrino. "I think we have a lot of carry-over. Certainly there is a lot of experience on the offensive line and even at tight ends. When you Charles Standberry and Micky Crum - two guys that have been playing in games for a couple of years now - made plays. I thought they did a really nice job."
Petrino was also positive about the performance of his receivers corp on the first day. Despite the loss of a couple key components from a season ago, along with junior Jaylen Smith out with an injury. the group drew the coaches praise.
"I like our receiving corp," he said. "There's not enough guys out there right now, so its hard on them but that'll be good for them. They take a lot of reps and have good size and speed, and I thought they caught the ball well."
Petrino mentioned that sophomore Seth Dawkins "is doing a real nice job at the X receiver," while senior Reggie Bonnafon is receiving reps at both the slot and Z spot.
Senior Jovante Bagley has seen limited action during his U of L career but had a "good day" on Tuesday and is someone with the talent who the staff "keeps waiting for it to turn on."
"This is the year where he really needs to come out and make plays for us," said Petrino.
Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson began work on enhancing his play. Bulked up above 200-pounds, Jackson threw the ball well and was focused on the direction given him by the coaching staff.
"Lamar did a good job throwing the football for the first day," Petrino said. "I thought he was accurate. I can see him concentrating on doing the things that we asked him to do, which is that he sets, his delivery and understanding secondary rotation, so the decision-making was good."
Reserve quarterback Jawon Pass also drew praise from Petrino.
"Puma had a good day," he said.
RELATED: Jackson prepping for next phase
On defense, the team saw the return of a number of key players and welcomed a new coordinator.
"It was fun to watch him," Petrino said of new defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon. "The defense understood exactly what they wanted to do. I thought they played fast and with a great attitude. There's a lot of teaching going on out there, a lot of corrections. It was fun."
James Hearns, who topped the team with eight sacks last season, returned to the practice field.
"It was good to see James Hearns back out there," he said. "I saw his speed and explosiveness."
Senior defensive lineman Drew Bailey also had "a very good day."
"He was really active and did a good job with his hands."
*** Petrino signeled out Jaire Alexander and Chucky Williams as providing "great leadership" and mentioned that the play of Dee Smith "jumped out" on day one.
*** Nate Scheler, Robbie Bell and Tyler Haycraft rotated at center.
*** Junior Lukayus McNeil and Kenny Thomas both spent time working at guard and tackle, as did Linwood Foy.
"We have a lot of work to figure out who the five guys are going to be," said Petrino.
*** Jeremy Smith remains the front-runner to start at running back. Dae Williams had a "really good" day and provides a big back option.
*** 260-pound Tobias Little, who is one of the strongest members of the team, continues the transition from linebacker to fullback.
"I'm excited," said Petrino. "We've got a real fullback. He can catch the ball. He can run with the ball. He gives us a little extra personnel grouping that will be fun to have back in our offense."
Senior defensive lineman Drew Bailey and senior wide receiver Reggie Bonnafon also met with the media following the first day of work. In addition to sharing their thoughts on the beginning of spring work, the players also shared their thoughts on the tragic loss of fellow U of L student Savannah Walker.