Paul Petrino: "It's Game Day"

After a sub-par performance in Monday's controlled scrimmage, the Cardinals offense is geared for a big outing during Saturday morning's scrimmage.

On Monday, during the Cardinals controlled scrimmage, the offense struggled moving the ball. Louisville's first team defense held Brian Brohm, Michael Bush, Montrell Jones and company in check, limiting the squad's abilities to move the ball consistently.

"It's real important, because it's game day," said U of L offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. "The last one was just a practice, but this one will be like game day for us, so we'll find out who is ready to make plays for us."

Since that sub-par performance, Petrino's offense has started to look like the squad that most expected. The past few practices have seen quarterback Brian Brohm connecting with his receivers down the field in stride, the offensive line open running lanes and the backs hitting the seams hard.

"I think tomorrow will be a good showing for the offense," continued Petrino. "I think the last two days have been better offensively. A lot of it is just that we are getting back to playing hard."

Petrino, who also coaches the receivers, points out that the offense will need to reduce turnovers and make better decisions during Saturday's 10:00 a.m. scrimmage.

"We made some big plays in the last scrimmage, but we just weren't consistant at all," he said. "We had too many turnovers. I think we were just being sloppy. We weren't carrying the ball right and we weren't hustling."

Despite the improved play the past few times out, Petrino continues to search for the players that will help make a difference in 2005.

One such player is running back George Stripling, who has run well since the start of practice.

"He's a real exciting player for us," said Petrino of the redshirt freshman. "He's fast, has good vision and makes the cuts well. He's going to be a real good player for us, which is good, because the more he plays the fresher Kolby [Smith] and Michael [Bush] will be."

The loss of receiver J.R. Russell has also left a void that must be filled.

"I think the biggest thing that we have to do is to find a receiver that we can go to when we need a big play," said Petrino. "We have a bunch of real good players and I'm not worried about them, but there are a few that still need to prove that they can make that big third down play."

As is the case with all Petrino coached teams, this year's U of L offense has displayed different strengths than last year's, which finished tops in the NCAA.

"There will be couple things that we'll do different and the offense will have a little bit of a different personality," Petrino said. "We still have a lot of work to do for the rest of the spring."

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