Wednesday Scrimmage Notebook

With a reshuffled offensive line due to the absence of starting center Will Rabatin, University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said the Cardinal defense more than held their own during a Wednesday morning scrimmage.

  • Defense Holds Own in AM Scrimmage According to University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino, the Cardinal defense more than held their own against the offense during Wednesday mornings scrimmage action, especially in the early going.

    "It went pretty good," Petrino said of Wednesday mornings action. "We started the scrimmage off and I thought the defense really came out and was flying around, made a lot plays and stopped the run early in the scrimmage, which was good to see.

    As the scrimmage wore on, though, Petrino said the U of L offense got in gear and was able to make some big plays with the run game.

    "The offense came back late in the scrimmage, executed better and ran the ball down the field a couple of times for some big plays," Petrino explained. "But it was a pretty good battle. And I like it when it's very competitive like that."

    Petrino was also pleased by the play of running backs Eric Shelton, Lionel Gates, Michael Bush and Kolby Smith this morning.

    "All four running backs carried the ball and did a real nice job this morning," Petrino said. "For the most part it was a pretty good scrimmage."

    The play of the defense has been noticibly better since pre-season practice opened last Monday and Petrino thinks the added experience his returning players gained last season is a big reason for the improvement.

    "Most of those guys played last year and have improved so much," Petrino said of his defensive unit. "I think Coach Cassity has got them flying around and playing with a lot of attitude and aggression. And they're having fun."

  • Quarterback Update According to Petrino, returning starter Stefan LeFors saw most of the action with the first unit while true freshman Brian Brohm took snaps with the second team.

    "The battle up front usually determines how well the quarterback plays," Petrino explained. "I thought the defensive line, particularly early in the scrimmage, got the better of the offensive line with the one's And so Stefan's decisions had to be quicker and he had to get the ball out faster."

    "I thought Brian with the two's, the offensive line controlled the defensive line, so he had a little bit more time to see and threw the ball very accurately," Petrino said.

  • Douglas Returns Red-shirt freshman wide out Harry Douglas, who injured his left leg last week when he outjumped true freshman corner Rod Council for a pass, returned to action on Tuesday and made some big plays during Wednesday's scrimmage action.

    "We're lucky now that we got Harry Douglas back out," Petrino said. "He missed a few days and yesterday was his first day back. He came out today and made some good plays."

    Perhaps the quickest and most shifty of the U of L receiving corp, Petrino certainly sounded upbeat about the return of the exciting Douglas to action.

    "He's a guy that's exciting because he's so quick," Petrino said.

  • Tight Ends Show Improvement Three true freshmen, 6-5, 245-pound Scott Kuhn, 6-6, 215-pound Gary Barnidge and 6-7, 260-pound Breno Giacomini are competing for immediate playig time at the tight end position this season.

    And Petrino said the youthful trio showed progress during this morning's scrimmage action.

    "The young tight ends are really coming along," Petrino explained. "They came out today and blocked much better and they're starting to understand what we want out of them."

    Petrino signaled out Barnidge, in particular, for his play.

    "The young Barnidge kid really did a nice job catching the ball [today]," Petrino said. "We just have to keep bringing them along before we start game planning next week."

  • O-Line Shuffles with Rabatin on DL With projected starting center Will Rabatin currently sitting out because of injury, Petrino shuffled his line up front to compensate for the senior's absence.

    "I certainly would like to have Will out there and hopefully we'll get him back soon," Petrino admitted. "But P.J. [Tavarsky] was in there[with the first group] and Spitz took a lot of snaps at center today. We also moved Darveau to tackle and Lefew inside at guard."

    Petrino emphasized the newly shuffled line was simply precautionary in the event Rabbatin can't go early in the season. Though Petrino sounded confident in Rabbatin's return for the season opener.

    "We're just trying to make sure we have a good plan if something were to happen," Petrino explained. "It was just a strain and Doc Shea is real confident that he'll be back for the Kentucky game. So I'd expect he'll be back out here next week practicing."

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