Urrutia ready to 'experience' Cardinal football

Over the past year, Fern Creek High School product Mario Urrutia has transformed from a quiet, soft-spoken freshman into a confident and dangerous receiver for Bobby Petrino's Cardinal program.

Call it an awakening, or a rebirth. The transformation that has occurred in Louisville redshirt freshman receiver Mario Urrutia over the course of the past 12 months has been nothing short of amazing.

The wrap on Urrutia during his senior year at Fern Creek High School was that despite towering over nearly everyone around him, both on and off the field, he was a soft spoken person and player. While he could definately use his then 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame to pull in passes anywhere on the field, he was a talented, but raw athlete that played with little emotion.

During his first fall camp as a member of the Cardinals football team, Urrutia, who hoped to play as a true freshman, looked lost and slow.

Urrutia, who now measures in at 6-foot-6, 220-pounds, didn't play as a true freshman, but he did travel with the team and was intent on improving and took advantage of the instruction given to him by U of L offensive coordinator and receivers coach Paul Petrino.

The time and effort that Paul Petrino, who mentored Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch, spent with the Louisville native is beginning to pay off.

"The coaches stayed on me," Urrutia explained. "They just kept pushing me harder and harder."

Urrutia shined throughout the spring practice period, pulling in 17 catches for 338 yards and 5 touchdowns in the Cardinals four scrimmages.

Now the once quiet Urrutia is developing the confidence and swagger that head coach Bobby Petrino must have envisioned when he extended a scholarship offer during his first few weeks on the job at U of L.

"Yeah, I am a little bit different," Urrutia said of on the field transformation. "I think that it comes with experience and knowing the game plan. I'm normally too mellow, but I'm pretty confident now."

He's now running tight routes and not only uses the height advantage to pull in Brian Brohm passes, but also to fight through would be tacklers.

"I've come along way since last year," he said. "Watching the team last year made me want to work even harder this summer. I think I'm doing pretty good."

After spending his first year on the squad watching from the sidelines, he now finds himself frequently running with the first unit and facing the best defenders that the Cardinal secondary can offer.

"It feels good to be apart of it, but I want to get on the field and experience it," he said, noting that he's looking forward to the September 4th matchup against rival Kentucky. "I'm going to be nervous, but when I catch that first ball I will be alright."

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