Fan Fest a hit with Petrino, players

About 4,500 Louisville fans showed up at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday evening to watch the 2005 Cardinal football team practice before coach Bobby Petrino closes the door to fans –and media - to begin preparations for the season opener against Kentucky September 4.

About 4,500 Louisville fans showed up at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday evening to watch the 2005 Cardinal football team practice before coach Bobby Petrino closes the door to fans –and media - to begin preparations for the season opener against Kentucky September 4.

The Cardinals, who also practiced Saturday morning, went hard for two hours Saturday night before turning the fans loose to seek autographs and photos with their favorite players.

Afterward, Petrino said he enjoyed the Fan Fest.

"This was fun," he said. "This was great for our players. We've been working hard on the practice field and I thought [the fans] brought our energy level up. Our guys like coming out here and performing."

Senior wide receiver Montrell Jones, a Louisville native, expressed appreciation for the fans for coming out and said their support energized the team.


Approximately 4,500 fans attended FanFest
"This was an excellent crowd," Jones said. "Whenever you can get this much fan support at just a practice, I can only imagine how it's going to be in a game. I like the intensity the fans had and their support is second to none. This energized us and I liked having the crowd out here."

With the first week of preseason practice behind his squad, Petrino was asked what his team's focus would be behind closed doors.

"Get ready for that Kentucky game," he said. "Actually we've got one more week going against each other and really working hard on our technique and fundamentals and getting better. Then we'll still have two weeks to [prepare] for Kentucky."

Judging by his team's performance this week, Petrino believes his squad is off to a good start.

"I think we've got a chance to be a good football team," Petrino said. "We've still got a lot of things to clean up and we've got a lot of improvement to make. But we're off to a good start."

While the two-deep on both sides of ball is mostly set, Petrino is still looking for some young guys to step up during the next few weeks and prove their ready for action, particularly in the secondary and on the defensive line.

"We've got to bring some of our young guys around," Petrino said.

One youngster who looks like he's ready to play right now is Mario Urrutia, a redshirt freshman wide receiver from Louisville Fern Creek. After catching three touchdown passes during Friday mornings scrimmage, the 6-6 Urrutia seemingly caught a dozen or more passes during Saturday night's practice session at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

"He looked pretty good," Petrino said. "He can run and can the ball and we've done a nice job of finding him when he's been matched up on the things that he can do well. What I like most about him is that he motivates Broderick, Montrell and Tinch to make sure they're out here practicing as hard as they can."

Those his teams are known for scoring points at a rapid pace, Petrino said he's been pleased with the play of his defense, particularly along the defensive line where three starters return.

"I think the defense is doing a good job," Petrino said. "Our defensive front, when they come to play, is pretty good. They're very physical and very quick and we have good speed at outside linebacker. I also think our first team secondary has done a nice job."

Still, there are questions that remain unanswered on defense as the Cardinals near their annual game against the rival Wildcats.

"Who are going to be the back up corners and safeties?" Petrino asked. "We might need all three weeks of practice to find out who that's going to be."

Petrino pleased with defensive line depth

Petrino said he's pleased with the progress of several young players along the defensive line and thinks this year's front four will have the most depth since he arrived at U of L in 2003.

"I think we have depth in the defensive line which we haven't had the first couple of years," Petrino said. "Adrian Grady and Brandon Cox have done a nice job. Zach Anderson has done a real nice job. I think that all of the [junior college] guys that came in, he's probably as impressive as any of them."

Grady, Cox and Anderson have each seen extensive action with the second team defense during the first week of fall camp. Grady is backing up Montavious Stanley and Amobi Okoye at tackle while Cox and Anderson are battling for playing time at end behind seniors Elvis Dumervil and Chad Rimpsey.

Petrino says Brohm's arm needs rest

With true freshman quarterback absence from practice this week, Louisville's three returning quarterbacks have seen more than their fair share of pass attempts. Petrino says that caused Brian Brohm's throwing arm to tire as the week progressed and the coach plans to reduce Brohm's work load until Sweeney returns to practice.

"I think we've got to cut down on his reps because his arm got a little tired toward the end of this week," Petrino said. "So we need to be smart with that and make sure he's not making to many throws."

"Lee Sweeney's got mono so he's not out here and that hurts us a lot," Petrino explained. "That makes all of our other quarterbacks have to throw more balls than you would like them to. Hopefully he'll be back by Tuesday or Wednesday. We sent him home so he could be with mom and dad to get some chicken noodle soup and maybe get better a little quicker."


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