Spring Notebook: Day 1

Updates on Michael Bush, Brian Brohm, Renardo Foster and others, as well as notes and observations from the Cardinals first day of spring practice...

The Cardinals returned to the practice fields on Wednesday afternoon full of energy and looked impressive during their first day drills. The team will return to the practice fields again on Thursday at 4:00 p.m.

  • Foster's Back!
  • Video Interview: Renardo Foster
  • ITV Gallery: Day One
  • Cards wrap up first day of spring
  • ITV Spring Practice Guide
  • RedRage Pigskin Message Board
  • Changes
    There were some changes to the way U of L head coach Bobby Petrino conducted the team's first practice of the new season. While there are always new drills put into the always up-tempo practice schedule, the Cardinals fourth-year head coach was more hands on - working directly with individual players and spending time with the different units.

    One notable difference was the way the special teams drills were conducted. New Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon, who joined the U of L staff after eight years as a Utah State assistant, has mixed things up and is giving the kicking and punting teams a new way of doing things.

    Pat Carter, JuJuan Spillman, Stevin Williams and Andrew Robinson rotated turns returning punts.

    He's Back
    The story of day one has to be the notable presence of senior offensive lineman Renardo Foster. Foster has struggled with both a knee and back injury since the 2004 season, but the lengthy and difficult rehab seems to have paid off.

    The 6-foot-7, 322-pound tackle moved extremely well and showed no signs of his previous injuries. He made many take notice of his return about halfway through Wednesday's practice while participating in line drills. Foster was a force during the one-on-one drill and quickly took the opposing defenders to the ground.

    Foster told InsideTheVille.com following his first full day out in months that he believes that the struggles of his injuries are behind him and that he's about, "90% - maybe 100%."

    Brian Brohm
    Wearing the yellow jersey - meaning hands off - junior quarterback Brian Brohm took part in some one-on-one drills, participated in skeleton (no contact) drills, ran with a harness with trainer in tow and worked with the medicine ball.

    "It felt real good out there," Brohm said of his knee following Wednesday's practice. "I wasn't having any problems and it felt good dropping back."

    The Big East Conference's Offensive Player of the Year also reported that he felt no pain while dropping back to throw.

    "There wasn't any pain while I was dropping back, so I felt real good," he said.

    However, despite the attention to his knee from media, coaches and fans alike, the Louisville Trinity product said that he's just excited to be a part of practice for the first time since late November.

    "It felt great to finally get back on the field and be apart of everything and being out here playing football, because that's what I love to do."

    If you glace quickly at #92 you might swear that NFL-bound Montavious Stanley is still on the team. At 6-foot-4, 310-pounds, junior college transfer Willie Williams fits the jersey. While an imposing sight, it's clear that the defensive tackle is still coming to grasps with the defensive schemes and how the practices are conducted.

    He spent his day primarily working with the second unit alongside Earl Heyman, with Maurice Mitchell and Jonathan Holston on the ends. Plenty of upside - and competition - for the mid-year junior college transfer.

    Michael Bush
    Senior running back Michael Bush seemed to have a smile from the moment he walked onto the field through the end of practice. The Louisville Male High School product enters the spring period in great shape and a little trimmer.

    "I've been doing the same thing since day one," said Bush of his approach to his last spring practice. "I'm coming out working hard and now I'm eating right so it feels good."

    As for the smile - he was simply having fun.

    "It wasn't too tough - we're not in pads yet," he said. "It was fun to get out here with everyone today though."

    What he liked after the first day of practice?

    "I was looking at the offensive line and to me they did a good job."

    Star in the Making
    There has been a lot said about the potential of Georgia Tech transfer Pat Carter and on Wednesday the junior from St. Petersburg, Fla., showed why he's so highly thought of.

    The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Carter spent time working both as a receiver and quarterback on Wednesday. His passes were crisp and on target, while he caught nearly everything thrown his way. Oh, and by the way, as mentioned above, he also returned punts.

    "That's difficult because you wonder how he's going to get better at one position," said head coach Bobby Petrino of Carter's multi-position practices.

    New Person
    It was long ago that Fern Creek High School product Mario Urrutia was struggling with Offensive Coordinator & Receivers Coach Paul Petrino's receiver drills. Now after a couple years in the Petrino system, Urrutia has become a new person on the practice fields.

    The team's top returning receiver is quickly becoming a leader among the talented and deep squad. On Wednesday the 6-foot-6, 228-pounder went through the fast-paced drills with focus and helped motivate those that may have been struggling.

    Quick Hits

  • Junior receiver Harry Douglas made a couple of extremely difficult catches, including one along the sideline when he leaped and reached over two defenders to pull in the catch.
  • Senior cornerback William Gay had a great interception in traffic during skelly, drawing the praise of former Cardinal safety Jon Gannon.
  • The decision to redshirt junior college offensive line transfers Marcus Gordon and Marcel Benson was a great one. Both looked impressive during their first day out. The competition between Benson and Breno Giacomini, along with the one between Gordon and Foster, will be one to watch all spring.
  • Cornerback Bobby Buchanan also wore a yellow jersey and was limited to only non-contact drills. The sophomore still participated in skelly and some one-on-one drills.
  • Senior receiver Jimmy Riley didn't do anything to hurt his chances of holding onto one of the first team spots.
  • Visitors
    Jason Spitz, who had 37 consecutive starts on the Cardinals offensive line, was among the crowd on Wednesday. Spitz is rated among the top five offensive guards by TheNFLExperts.com for the upcoming NFL Draft.

    Future Cardinal Aundre Henderson was also on hand for the first practice of the spring period. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle followed the defensive line around for nearly the entire practice.

    Louisville St.X High School running back Vic Anderson was one of the first to arrive on Wednesday.

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