U of L offense makes big plays during scrimmage

The University of Louisville offense showed it could make plays – big plays – during Saturday afternoon's football scrimmage at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The University of Louisville offense showed it could make plays – big plays – during Saturday afternoon's football scrimmage at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

With about 100 talented high school prospects in town to attend U of L's "Junior Day," Bobby Petrino's offense, led by running back Michael Bush, and WR Mario Urrutia, turned the throttle up a notch. The first team offense scored on seven of its first eight possessions, though many of those scores came as the result –three to be exact – came with starting field position in the "red zone."

"I thought that the offensive players made plays today," said Petrino. "There were times when there wasn't anything there, but they still came out and executed."

Bush's impressive 16-yard touchdown run early in the scrimmage when he reversed direction after being trapped in the backfield was the most poignant example of what Petrino meant by his offense's ability to make plays during the scrimmage.

"That was one of those where we probably didn't knock them off the ball and block it exactly right, but Michael did a great job on the reverse to get it in the end zone," Petrino said of the scrimmage's highlight run. "It was a situation where you don't want that to happen all the time, because you want to keep moving forward, but that was one time where the down and distance where he had free reign to make a play like that and he did it."

Bush said he thought he'd chance – even though he knew he'd get in trouble if the play didn't work out - and reverse field after not finding any holes on the right side of the field.

"I ran to the right side and didn't see anything, and I was just kind of hesitating to pick a hole," Bush said. "So I just said, ‘what the heck,' and take my chances going left, and I made it. God blessed me to make plays like that."

Bush had a game-high 98 yards on 16 carries. Redshirt freshman George Stripling carried 11 times for 76 yards and one touchdown, while junior Kolby Smith ran 6 times for 28 yards and a score.

"We came out ready to play today, and set the tone on offense," Bush said. "I just like being on the game field, and with people around it makes you work a little harder."

Sophomore Brian Brohm completed 17-of-26 passes for 213 yards and five touchdowns – three of which landed in the hands of 6-6 redshirt freshman Mario Urrutia. Urrutia was impressive once again with 6 catches for 127 yards, including touchdowns of 14, 23, and 12 yards, respectively.

Mario Urrutia had another impressive

"He's been consistent in three scrimmages," Petrino said of Urrutia. "He's been mainly working with the two's, so you've got to take that into account. But anytime you ask him to get open and make a catch, he's been doing it. He's a great target, particularly in the red zone. He looks impressive."

"To me, he's going to be like another Mike Williams," Bush said Urrutia. "He has great hands and good feet, so he'll be something to watch later on down the road."

Tight end Gary Barnidge enjoyed a nice scrimmage, hauling in 3 passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-6, 230-pound sophomore made a spectacular 12 yard reception that he tipped to himself in the back of the end zone, and somehow managed to land in bounds. His second touchdown covered 55 yards after breaking an attempted tackle by safety Brandon Sharp.

"They're catching the ball well and doing the things that they're supposed to be doing," Petrino said of his tight ends.

The defense did have some highlights, including linebacker Abe Brown's jarring hit on wide receiver Joshua Tinch to break up a Brohm pass. Defensive end Chad Rimpsey had two sacks, and corner Rod Council and safety Brandon Sharp both intercepted passes.

"The defense gave it to us the first two scrimmages," Bush said. "But this time we just came out more prepared, and worked a little harder. But the spring game might be a different story. You can't tell."

Defensive end Elvis Dumervil said the defense needs to play harder the next out.

"The (offense) out did us today," Dumervil admitted. "They're a great offense. The defense just has to pick it up, and show more enthusiasm and aggressiveness."

Tinch caught 3 passes for 31 yards, while Broderick Clark made 4 catches for 46 yards.

The Cardinals return to the practice field next Monday.

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