The amount of fans attending the Cardinals spring practices has increased steadily since day one. The crowd on Monday was the largest that I can remember being on hand for just the fourth practice. There are a number of fans experiencing their first spring practice ever.
With each passing practice the buzz surrounding this year's team grows. The offseason work put in by returning members of the 11-1 team of a year ago is evident and those who have attended a practice are giving this team rave reviews.
The strength of the teams depth at a number of positions has been a constant topic on the InsidetheVille.com messageboards - the home for Cardinal football fans - as redshirt freshmen George Stripling, Mario Urrutia and Rod Council have received continual praise.
Redshirt freshman running
back George Stripling
"I've never been more impressed on first site as I was with Stripling," agreed TCard. "He hits the hole so fast and has no hesitation. Now I'm not putting him on this level yet but he reminds me of Tony Dorsett."
Receiver Mario Urrutia, a graduate of Fern Creek High School, has drawn similar praise.
"More than I could have ever dreamed he would be," VilleFan1 said of Urrutia. "The quarterback will throw a long ball and by the time the defensive back is turning around Mario has snatched the ball out of the air. If he gets a step he can outrun you."
Sophomore Matt Sanders, who has had to overcome multiple knee surgery's since his senior year at Male High School in 2001, has appeared to have bulked up and has a determination unseen before and the fans have taken notice.
"Matt Sanders had the hit of the day yesterday on Bush," posted CardinalDoug. "Bush tried to run up the middle and Sanders whacked him!"
The Cardinals will continue to practice on most days through April 22nd, when the spring session comes to an end with the annual Spring Game. See the ITV Spring Practice Guide for dates and times.
If you have yet to take in a fast-paced Bobby Petrino practice, your next opportunity will come on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
(In the case of rain, check the ITV Football Forum or call U of L at 852.6581 to confirm if it is still being held.)