Cards practice inside for the first time

The University of Louisville practiced inside the Trager Center for the first time Thursday afternoon. And while it was cold outside, the temperature was a comfortable 65 degrees inside the new facility. U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich and head coach Bobby Petrino both sounded excited about the boost the new facility will provide the program.

It was cold and rainy in Louisville Thursday afternoon, but No. 16 Louisville was nice and warm inside their new indoor football practice facility.

Several boosters and media members looked on as the Cardinals practiced for the first time inside the impressive Trager Center. University of Louisville Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich was also on hand to watch the Cardinals prepare for Saturday night against Connecticut in their new digs.

"I think this gives us an unbelievable opportunity to go forward," Jurich told "To be able to get out of the weather and practice in here gives us tremendous versatility. It's 30 degrees outside today, but it's 65 degrees in here and that's great."

According to Jurich, U of L head coach Bobby Petrino could hardly contain his excitement about the new facility last weekend when the Cardinals hosted several big-time recruits.

"He's so excited," Jurich said. "I was with him Sunday and we were talking to some recruits having breakfast and Bobby just couldn't wait to get in here."

Petrino said the new facility will have a tremendous impact on his program, especially in December while the team is preparing for the Toyota Gator Bowl.

Head coach Bobby Petrino watches
as Hunter Cantwell works with offense
"This is unbelievable," Petrino said. "This facility gives a young man an opportunity to become the best he possibly can become. It gives us a great opportunity to develop our young players during bowl preparation. Last year, we had to cut practices short because of the weather. Now we get an extra spring practice."

The Trager Center is also expected to provide a recruiting boost for the football program.

"We bring so many recruits around all the time and for them to be able to come in and get out of the weather and see something like this and know that weather is never a factor in their recruitment is terrific," Jurich said.

Most importantly, the new facility will allow U of L's players to sharpen and improve their skills throughout the year, regardless how hot or cold the weather is outside.

"We'll use it all winter and during the summer for our conditioning and speed and agility work," Petrino said.

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