It's been an interesting, and exciting spring for the Cardinals, who begin Big East Conference play this fall. Coming off the best season in school history, in which Louisville finished 11-1, won the C-USA league title, and beat Boise State 44-40 in the Liberty Bowl to finish the season ranked No. 6 in the nation, Bobby Petrino's primary objective this spring has been finding replacements for six departed starters on defense, and five from the nation's top offense, including quarterback Stefan LeFors, the 2004 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year.
Sophomore Brian Brohm, a former USA Today High School All-American, has taken over the reigns from LeFors. And the Cardinals offense doesn't appear to have missed a beat this spring. In three scrimmage's Brohm has completed 64-percent of his passes for 595 yards and six touchdowns.
"I think the spring has gone really good," Brohm said. "I think the offense has gotten better everyday, and we've made great strides since the first day."
Brohm has completed 64-percent
of his passes in three scrimmages
At running back, the Cardinals don't look to have missed a beat with 6-3, 245-pound Michael Bush, and 6-0, 215-pound Kolby Smith, both juniors with plenty of experience. Bush rushed for nearly 800 yards as a sophomore, while Smith led the team with 9.4 yards per carry last season. In three scrimmages this spring, the two have combined for 334 yards and seven touchdowns.
Finding a replacement for the 6-3 Russell hasn't been an easy task, but 6-6, 220-pound redshirt freshman Mario Urrutia has tried to fill the shoe's of last season's leading pass receiver.
Urrutia has simply been outstanding this spring, and looks to be one of Brohm's favorite targets. The two have hooked up deep several times this spring, and Urrutia has proven an outstanding target on the quick slants Petrino likes to utilize, especially close to the goal-line. The Fern Creek High School graduate has caught 16 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns this spring.
"He's been consistent in three scrimmages," Petrino said. "He's a great target, particularly in the red zone. He looks impressive."
DT Montavious Stanley has been very
impressive this spring.
"I think Rod Council and William Gay are doing a great job on the corners, and I like the move with Antoine Sharp going inside to safety," Petrino said. "We need to find some depth at the safety position and on the corners, but we recruited a bunch of them, so we need some of them to come in and play."
In general, though, Petrino has been pleased with the play of his defense this spring, especially considering the hit his unit sustained because of graduation.
"I'm pretty much pleased with where we are at (on defense) right now," Petrino said last week. "I like our defensive front, and I think our linebackers are doing a great job. I feel better about our depth."
Louisville will also make some history tonight, as ESPN will televise the Cardinals' spring game for the first time nationally on its newest network, ESPNU. ESPNU is dedicated to covering college athletics, and will televise just seven such games this spring.
"It's an exciting time," said Petrino.
Kickoff for the Red-White Spring Game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.