Spring Game Notes & Quotes

Despite the constant warnings of heavy rain and wind for Friday afternoon from local meteroligists, fans began tailgating the moment that the parking lots at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium opened. The smell from steaks, brats and burgers being cooked on the grills was thick by 3:00 p.m. It had turned into a beautiful spring day.

Then it happened. A line of severe thunderstorms came across the Louisville area with authority. Fans scattered into the stadium, into their cars and into the tunnel underneath the Denny Crum Overpass. As the tornado sirens sounded, fans were ushered into the Brown & Williamson Club and the visiting team locker room.

For many, this wasn't anything new. U of L defeated Florida State in the remains of a tropical storm. In a game that was interupted by lightning, the Cardinals won a thrilling overtime game against Kentucky. More recently, the kickoff between the Cards and Cats in 2003 was delayed due to a severe thunderstorm.

By 7:00 p.m. the storms cleared out and it was announced that kickoff would be delayed until 8:00 p.m.

"It was good that we got it in," said head coach Bobby Petrino. "It was fortunate that the weather gave us a break. I thought the players handled the delay - we're used to that. That happened to us in our first game [as coaches] up in Lexington."

The 6,134 that braved the weather were treated a great night of football and witnessed great games by Brian Brohm, Joshua Tinch, Michael Bush and others.

Dynamic Duo
In addition to their great running abilities, Michael Bush and Kolby Smith have developed into great pass-catching backs as well.

The two combined for six catches for 62 yards during Friday night's scrimmage and Coach Bobby Petrino said afterwards that it will allow him to do more with the offense this season.

"I think we really need to do a good job of putting together a package for both of them catching it and running it when they are in the game together," Petrino said.

Relationship Forming
Every quarterback has his favorite receiver. The guy he can turn to in any situation and feel comfortable throwing the ball his way. Last fall it was J.R. Russell for Stefan LeFors. If the spring game is any indicator, sophomore Brian Brohm and senior Joshua Tinch will form a great relationship in 2005.

The two hooked up seven times for 133-yards and three touchdowns on Friday.

"Tinch is a tough receiver," said Brohm. "He goes across the middle and takes a lot of hits. He's a guy that I'll be looking at a lot this year."

Despite sitting out of full contact for the first two weeks of spring practice due to an injured hamstring, Tinch and the U of L offense returned to form quickly.

"When he wasn't practicing with us we lost a little bit offensively," said Petrino. "He's the best leader that we have on the team. He has so much energy."

Tinch also realizes that it's his time to take his play to the next level and become that sure receiver, just as J.R. Russell did in 2004.

"When they call your number you have to make the play and J.R. did that last year," he said. "Now, they are coming to me, so I'm going to make plays."

While Petrino wasn't ready to label Tinch as the new go-to receiver, he was pleased to see the relationship that he's building with Brohm.

"I think we did get a good feel of how Brian and Joshua will work together," Petrino said.

There were plenty of visitors - from high school prospects to former Cardinal greats - on hand Friday night.

At halftime the departing members of the 2004 team were presented their framed uniforms and team rings by former Cardinal gridiron stars. Chris Redman, Otis Wilson, Klaus Wilmsmeyer, Tom Jackson, David Akers, Lenny Lyles, Dewayne White, John Madeya, Ray Buchanan and Rashad Holman were among the presenter's.

A number of incoming freshmen were also on hand including Earl Heyman, Scott Long, Darius Mann and Brian Roche.

There were also a few impressive high school prospects taking in the game Friday night. Tight end Luke Stocker of Madison Southern High School and offensive lineman Aaron Brown of Cincinnati Princeton were two of the most notable.

Darius Mann - Earl Heyman - Brian Roche

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