Cards already preparing for UK behind closed doors

Bobby Petrino had the Louisville Cardinals hard at work inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Wednesday afternoon preparing for their season-opener against Kentucky September 4.

While the talk coming out of Kentucky's preseason camp yesterday centered on Rich Brooks' decision to cancel practice, Bobby Petrino had the Louisville Cardinals hard at work inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Wednesday afternoon.

And while U of L's complete focus hasn't yet turned to their September 4 season-opener against UK, Petrino admitted after practice that his squad has already begun preparations behind closed doors this week for the Wildcats.

"After Saturday we'll settle in and really start focusing in on Kentucky, although we did a lot this week," Petrino said.

The Cardinals looked sharp last week when practice was open to fans and media, and Petrino said Wednesday that he's pleased – for the most part – with what he's seen on the practice field.

"We've been getting after it pretty good [and] putting in all the little secrets we have," he said with a laugh. "But it's been going alright. We've been very physical."

One of the things Petrino sounded most pleased about has been the balance he's witnessed between his offensive and defensive units. While neither unit has consistently outplayed the other during the first week and a half of practice, Petrino said it's becoming clear his offense and defense are already growing tired of facing off against one another during practice each day.


Petrino has been working Cards hard
behind closed doors this week.

"One day the defense does good and the next the offense does," Petrino explained. "So I think we're getting close to being tired of battling against each other."

Because of that weariness, Petrino wants to see his offensive and defensive units begin the process of unification.

"We've been battling each other [so much] that one thing that I think we need to do right now – both the offense and defense – is start coming together a little bit more," he said. "The coaches and players are so competitive on both sides that [they're] wanting to win every drill. So we still have a ways to go to come together and have the type of chemistry that we need."

Notes

  • Petrino has made no bones during the preseason about the fact that he likes his defensive front, calling his front four the ‘strength of the defense.' Still, he'd like to find one more tackle to add to the mix of Montavious Stanley, Amobi Okoye and Adrian Grady, the teams top three defensive tackles.

    "We're trying to find one more guy in there," Petrino said. "We'd like to have four [rotating] so we can stay fresh."

    Junior Brinson Harley and redshirt freshman Maurice Mitchell are battling to enter the mix at tackle, as is true freshman Earl Heyman, who has been working overtime after practice to hasten his move up the depth chart.

    Petrino also said he's got plenty of depth behind ends Elvis Dumervil and Chad Rimpsey.

    "Zach Anderson will end up being the back up on one side with Brandon Cox on the other," Petrino said.

  • Junior Gavin Smart and redshirt freshman Rod Council are having quite a battle to fill the open corner slot opposite William Gay. Regardless who wins the job, Petrino said he'll need all three this season.

    "Really you need three corners," he said. "Those three guys will play in our nickel package.

    Petrino also said that newcomers Travis Norton and Bobby Buchanan are coming around behind Gay, Smart and Council. "You can really see that they have the ability to get it done."


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