Stripling preparing for new role

With junior running back Kolby Smith questionable at best for this weekend's game at No.25 West Virginia, Louisville redshirt freshman George Stripling is preparing to step in and accept a larger role.

As Bobby Petrino's 19th-ranked Cardinals return to the practice fields on Tuesday afternoon to begin preparation for this weekend's road game at No. 25 West Virginia, they will do so with the expectation that injured running back Kolby Smith won't be available.

Redshirt freshman George Stripling, who rushed for a team high 74-yards in Louisville's 69-14 win over North Carolina, will open practice this week alongside Michael Bush.

"We have to go forward as if we don't have Kolby and get George involved and take over that role," said U of L head coach Bobby Petrino. "He is certainly going to have to carry the ball. He's going to be in the backfield with Michael."

While most of his action through Louisville's first five games has come on special teams and in the backfield once the outcome of the game was no longer in question, Stripling has displayed big play potential.

In each scrimmage during spring practice, the 6-foot, 195-pound Jacksonville, Florida native ran well, rushing for over 300-yards and recording a touchdown in each outing.

"I've always liked him and the way he runs the football," explained Petrino. "Every scrimmage that we had in spring he broke a long run for a touchdown."

Despite the limited role thus far, Stripling has rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns. His 6.5 yards per carry average is best on the team.

"He's very fast," continued Petrino. "He's very quick. He has good vision. He's taking care of the ball real well so far - knock on wood."

Few, if any, question Stripling's ability to run the ball, and Petrino said that the focus for the former Florida 2nd Team All-State performer this week will be with passing game.

"The thing that he hasn't experienced a lot is pass protection," he explained. "That's what we have to work at real hard this week with him."

Be sure to stay logged on to for updates throughout the week as Louisville prepares for it's BIG EAST Conference showdown at West Virginia.

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