Petrino pleased with team's effort in practice

<b>2004 KICK-OFF LUNCHEON</b> University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino told a large crowd of Cardinal fans Friday afternoon that he's extremely pleased with the way his team is preparing for the upcoming season.

University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino sounded like a proud father doting on his children Friday afternoon at the 2004 Kick-Off luncheon at the Kentucky Convention Center in downtown Louisville.

With high expectations, Petrino's second team will enter the new season ranked 26th (Associated Press) nationally and will likely be heavily favored when they take the field September 5 for the opener against rival Kentucky.

And after nearly two weeks of pre-season practice behind them, the end of two-a-day practices is right around the corner for Petrino's troops.

"We have our last two-a-days tomorrow," Petrino said. "It's been a good week and a half of practice so far and I know our players are looking forward to the end of two-a-days."

Petrino was especially excited about how well conditioned his team was entering fall camp and sounded impressed with their effort and execution to this point.

"I've been very impressed with this football team," Petrino admitted. "They came into camp in great condition and they've been practicing very well."

While the players start back to school next week, they've already got two scrimmages under their belts before heading back to the classroom. Once again, Petrino expressed delight at the way his defense has developed and grown more competitive against U of L's high-powered offense.

"We've had two scrimmages so far and they've been really encouraging to me because the offense and defense have really been battling one another," Petrino explained. "And that's the way it should be. Our scrimmages should be great battles and provide great competition and I can't tell you how much I'm impressed with the way the team has been playing and practicing in fall camp."

Following Petrino's remarks, team captains Robert McCune, Stefan LeFors, Kerry Rhodes and J.R. Russell addressed the assembled crowd of fans.

"We're excited to get the season started," LeFors said. "We're more experienced this year and that's always a good thing."

Before the lucheon adjourned, all members of this year's team made their way to all parts of the crowd and in unison said, "Thank you!," to the fans before departing on the team bus back to campus.

Practice is scheduled to resume with a 6:30 practice session this evening.

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