Highlights from Louisville coach Bobby Petrino's Thursday afternoon address to the John Unitas Foundation.
When practice starts next month for the University of Louisville
football team, you can be sure the Cardinals focus won't be on it's preseason hype, BCS opportunities or the Big East title race.
Instead, head coach Bobby Petrino told the crowd at the John Unitas Luncheon Thursday afternoon that his third team at U of L will be solely focused on one thing - beating rival Kentucky for the third consecutive year in the season-opener September 4 at Commonwealth Stadium.
"We will address to our players the expectations - the fact we're going into the Big East and what's all out there for us," Petrino said. "But once we talk about it in that first meeting we're going to have one thing to concentrate on - and that's the Kentucky game."
Having blanked Kentucky 28-0 last season, Petrino is adament his team's focus will be on taking the season one game at time - starting with Kentucky.
"We have two seasons - the Kentucky game and the rest of the season," added Petrino. "Once we get that first meeting in, you won't hear anything about the Big East or a BCS bowl game. What you're going to hear about is our preparation for the Kentucky game."
Practice begins a week from Saturday.
News and Notes
Petrino said that senior defensive end Elvis Dumervil has assumed the leadership role on the defensive side of the ball this season. "He came to me after the season last year and said he wanted to take a leadership role on the team and asked what he needed to do."
Sophomore offensive tackle Breno Giacomini, according to Petrino, will see action at both tackle and tight end this season. Giacomini stands 6-7, 280-pounds.
Place-kicker Art Carmody will handle kick-off duties with Todd Flanery's move to punter. "we just want him concentrating on punting and not worry about kick-off," Petrino said. Flanery handled kick-off duties last season but moved to punter last spring after Brent Moody's transfer.
Petrino expects the defensive line, led by Dumervil and tackles Montavious Stanley and Amobi Okoye, to be the strength of the defense this season. "Both of those guys are big and fast," Petrino said of his two 300+ pound tackles.
Petrino said he expects sophomore outside linebacker Malik Jackson to challenge returning starter Abe Brown for playing time this season.
While Petrino calls junior running back Michael Bush one of the best athletes he's coached, he's quick to note the 6-3, 250-pounder will have to be in much better condition this year to handle the extra carries he'll get.
Two Louisville prospects - Central's Corey Peter's and Western's Jimorris Johnson - were in attendance.