Stripling to see increased role

Redshirt freshman running back George Stripling has 'earned' a spot in Bobby Petrino's backfield rotation.

Last fall, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino utilized a running attack that featured four backs, but with two now earning NFL paychecks, the third-year head coach used just two, Michael Bush and Kolby Smith, during Sunday's road win at rival Kentucky. The two junior's combined for 204 rushing and 43 receiving yards in the season-opening win.

However despite the duo's effective running - they averaged 5.2 yards per carry - Petrino indicated during his Tuesday afternoon press conference that a third back, redshirt freshman George Stripling, will soon join the backfield rotation.

"He needs to get in there and go," said Petrino. "He's earned it and he's done a good job. I would have liked to have put him in the second half, but all of the sudden everything became tight."

Prior to his time working with the Cardinal's scout team as a true freshman last fall, the 6-foot, 195-pound back built a resume that included impressive numbers, as well as post season honors. As a senior at Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Stripling rushed for 2,330 yards and 22 touchdowns on 310 carries, for an impressive 7.5 per carry average. Following his strong senior campaign, he was voted second team All-State and finished third on the Florida 3A Player of the Year ballot.


Michael Bush describes Stripling
as "real shifty and fast"

After devoting his summer months to voluntary workouts and performing well during fall camp Stripling was expected to find time in the Cardinals backfield, but despite only seeing time on special teams against Kentucky, the Jacksonville native came ready to play.

"George did an excellent job on special teams," said Petrino. "He was one of the guys that played extremely hard and actually graded out the highest on special teams. He's a real tough kid that has great speed."

Michael Bush, who led the U of L ground game against UK with 128-yards and two touchdowns, said that the addition of Stripling to the Cards backfield will add a different style to an already effective unit.

"If a lot guys think we are going to pound when Stripling is in the game - he might be smaller, but they won't know what to expect," he said, adding that the redshirt freshman is capable of making the big play. "If he gets to the corner - he's gone. If he gets around the corner and makes one or two moves, he's off to the races. He's real shifty and fast."

The next opportunity for Stripling to record his first career carry will occur when Oregon State visits Papa John's Cardinals Stadium on September 17. The Beaver's allowed 126 rushing yards (3.7 apc) in their season opening win over I-AA Portland State.


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