Petrino discusses bowl preparation

U of L head coach Bobby Petrino spoke about the Cardinals preparation for the Liberty Bowl matchup and 10th-ranked Boise State.

After receiving a few days off from the practice fields since finishing regular season play and claiming the school's third Conference USA Championship, the Cardinal football team has returned to their on the field game preparation, despite the bitter cold temperatures.

"It's went well," said U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said of the Liberty Bowl preparations. "I think our players are excited about it. Naturally the last two days have been difficult because of the weather. We did go out yesterday morning and it was very cold, but I thought our players had a great attitude and tried to do the best they could. I thought their effort was real good."

One of the many benefits of playing in a bowl game is the extra time coaches spend with their younger players, giving them more of an opportunity to prepare for next season. However, the cold days have limited such activity for Coach Petrino.

"We are losing reps with the young players, because I like to keep them out after practice and haven't been able to do that the last two days," Petrino said.

Monday's practice, again held in below normal temperatures, was deemed successful by the second-year head coach.

"We went out today and had a much better practice and actually got a lot accomplished," continued Petrino. "It was pretty much a normal Tuesday practice for us in a game week preparation. We'll get two weeks of preparation through our normal routine."

Much of the focus during the practice sessions, as well as film study is being spent with the defense that has been given the task of slowing down the nation's second-rated offense.

"They do a lot of things different on offense, as far as shifting, motion and personnel groups," Petrino said of the 10th-ranked Boise State Broncos. "They utilize a lot of players and mix it up, giving everybody opportunties that carry the ball and catch the ball. They are very well coached on the offensive front and I think the strength of their team is the offensive front and how well they play."

"It's definately going to be real challenge for our defense and it's one that they are looking forward to," said Petrino. "I know they are excited about it and I think it's a great matchup."

However, the Cardinal defense isn't the only unit that will be facing a strong challenge, as the U of L running attack will face the nation's fourth-rated rush defense, which only gave up 83.5 yards per outing.

"Their defense is very good and very well coached," Petrino explained. "They really try to eliminate the inside run by their angles and the way set their fronts."

Petrino was quick to mention though that he believes that the outcome of the Liberty Bowl may depend on how well the Cardinals 10th-ranked running game, led by Eric Shelton, Michael Bush and Lionel Gates, performs.

"I think it is going to come down to how well we run the ball and how effective we are able to throw it deep after we run it," Petrino explained. "We have to run the ball and we have to be able to utilize the matchups that we get when we are throwing it. If our guys can make the plays that they have been making all year then it should be an exciting game."

NOTES:

  • Petrino sending players home for Christmas - "Our players have shown that they are very mature and that they have put in a tremendous and effort into preparation for this season and they need to be around their families for Christmas."

  • Nearing 100% - Senior Lionel Gates is gearing up for his final game as a Louisville Cardinal. "I'm doing well," said Gates. "I'm about 95%. I'm out working hard. I'm going to be back fresh and ready to play. I haven't played, so I'm kind of hungry, so I going to come and do my best."


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