Okoye, Foster likely to return against UNC

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino had good news to report on the status of Amobi Okoye (foot) and Renardo Foster (knee), but wasn't as optimistic about Gary Barnidge (ankle) or Brandon Johnson's return this week.

While Louisville stayed virtually injury free during last year's 11-1 campaign, the Cardinals haven't been able to avoid the injury-bug so far this season.

But Cardinals' head coach Bobby Petrino had some good news to report Monday afternoon during his weekly press conference.

Petrino said he expects junior defensive tackle Amobi Okoye to return to action against North Carolina after missing Saturday's 61-10 victory over Florida Atlantic with a foot sprain.

"We should have Amobi (Okoye) back," Petrino said. "I think he'll be back. He ran (Sunday) night and looked pretty good running (but) he still has a ways to go to be full speed."

Redshirt freshman Adrian Grady stepped in for Okoye against the Owls and was impressive while making his first start. The 6-2, 295-pound Grady recorded four tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

Junior offensive tackle Renardo Foster also appears nearly ready to return to full-time action. Foster, who had surgery last season after injuring his knee against East Carolina, played his first snaps of the season during the second half against FAU.

Foster saw his first action this
season against FAU.

"He's getting close," Petrino said of Foster's return. "It was good to see him in (against FAU). I think his confidence went up a lot after being in there."

"He feels real good in the passing game and being able to pass protect, but he doesn't feel quite like he's used to in the running game and being able to get down low and come off the ball," added Petrino. "But he's improving on that and he ran (Sunday) much better than he had previous Sundays."

The news doesn't appear quite as good for sophomore tight end Gary Barnidge. Barnidge injured his foot in the 45-14 loss at South Florida two weeks ago and did not play against Florida Atlantic.

"Gary Barnidge is still up in the air (and) I'm not sure if he'll be able to go or not (vs. North Carolina)," Petrino said. "He still has an ankle (injury) and he did not run (yesterday) but is riding the bike. He looked pretty good riding the bike and he's getting some flexibility back."

Petrino sounded pleased with Barnidge's replacements against the Owls.

"Breno Giacomini and Scott Kuhn did a nice job filling in," he said. "Breno really played as fast and as hard as he has since he's been here which correlates to the way he has practiced."

And though he's not injured, senior linebacker Brandon Johnson's status remains unsettled. Johnson, Louisville's leading returning tackler, didn't play a defensive snap against FAU for disciplinary reasons - though he did see action with the kick off coverage unit.

"We'll have to see how he practices," Petrino said. "It's up to him."

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