Bush expected bigger role on defense

University of Louisville sophomore Michael Bush was an important cog in the Cardinals offense against Kentucky but said Tuesday afternoon that he thought his role on defense against the Cats would have been more significant.

Michael Bush played a vital role on offense to help Louisville knock off rival Kentucky 28-0 to reclaim the Governor's Cup for the fifth time in six years, but said Tuesday he thought his role on defense would have been much bigger against the Wildcats.

"I thought my role would have been a little bit bigger," Bush, who saw action at rover for two plays during the third quarter, admitted. "But it was fine and I don't really have any complaints. It will depend on the other teams personnel how much defense I'll play."

Bush carried 14 times for 73 yards and caught 2 passes for 41 yards and felt good about his performance in the season opener.

"I think I played good," Bush surmised. "Coach had a nice scheme for the offense and it was fun being out there in front of all those people."

And while Bush thought he played well, U of L Head Coach Bobby Petrino believes Bush took over the game after intermission and was a key reason why Louisville pulled away from Kentucky in the second half.

"I thought Michael Bush took the game over a little bit there in the third quarter," Petrino said. "We left him on the field for a number of plays in a row and he made a great play on the screen pass and then made a couple of nice runs. He's really hard to tackle as the game goes on and he was really close to breaking three other runs and going the distance."

"He was cramping up some during the game and the trainers did a nice job icing him down so he could play all those snaps," Petrino continued. "He's a great playmaker and you know sooner or later he's going to break a long one."

Splitting time and carries in the backfield with U of L's three other talented running backs, Eric Shelton, Lionel Gates and Kolby Smith, Bush said he takes an unselfish view of the situation and focus on trying to make the best of his opportunities when they come.

"I'm just glad the ball was in my hand but it really doesn't matter who has the ball," Bush explained. "I just try to make the best of it."

Playing in front of the largest crowd in school history, Bush drew energy from the fans enthusiasm and support and used it as motivation during the game.

"That was the first time I've really heard them get that loud and I really enjoyed it," Bush said of the crowd. "And I knew my parents were in there with all the noise making so I liked it and it pumped me up for the game."

While some have criticized Petrino's play calling for being too conservative, noting that his offense ran the ball 70 percent of the time against Kentucky, Bush said the only difference he could detect was that U of L's quarterback's didn't take more shots down the field.

"Whatever the head coach wants to do that's how we'll play," Bush said. "If he wants to go all out, we'll go with him. If he wants to be conservative we'll still try to play hard. But I really couldn't tell we played conservative; I know we didn't go down the field like we used to but other than that I think [Coach Petrino] called a good game."

Following the game, Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks took an apparent shot at Bush, noting that the former Kentucky Mr. Football doesn't even start for Louisville. Bush said he was frustrated when he learned about the comments but quickly realized it might have been a case of sour grapes on Brook's part.

"Maybe he was mad that I didn't go to UK," Bush said. "We have a lot of good people on the team and my time is still to come."


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