Spring Notebook: Day Two

On the first day of spring practice, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said his offense got the better of the defense. Thursday, Petrino felt his defense turned the table. If you missed practice, we've got all the highlights, including comments from Petrino on the battle along the offensive front.

Defense out-plays offense on Day Two

Bobby Petrino thought his defense got the better of his defense on the second day of spring practice.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Petrino said after Thursday's nearly three hour practice session. "I thought that the defense was moving around, and executing a little better than the offense did today, though I thought it was just the opposite yesterday."

The Cardinals will take Friday off, before returning to the practice field Saturday morning. When they return to the field this weekend, Petrino's troops will suit up and go in full pads for the first time this spring.

"We're looking forward to getting the pads on Saturday, and getting out here and starting to bang a little bit," said Petrino. "It's hard to come out for two days in just helmets."

With Brian Brohm out for the most significant offensive drills this spring, Petrino said he's just focused on teaching his offense the basics, and more importantly, finding a capable group of blockers along the offensive front.

"We're trying to execute our base offense this spring," Petrino said. "I think the biggest is trying to find out who the five guys up front are going to be. I felt that's why we should go back to the basics and keep everything more (focused) on technique and skill oriented as opposed to scheme."

Through the first two days of practice, Petrino said his staff's primary focus has been on installing the offensive and defensive packages. He said the installation process would give way to greater repetition this weekend.

"We have inserted a lot of material, and we'll have one more day of installation on Saturday, and then we'll cut it back for Sunday and start going over it again," explained Petrino. "I think the execution will pick up."


Redshirt wide receiver Scott Long has
been impressive through two workouts.

Foster continues to impress

For the first time since the 2004 season, offensive tackle Renardo Foster appears to be near 100 percent. Foster had two surgeries – knee surgery in 2004, and back surgery just before the 2005 Gator Bowl. The 6-7, 325-pound senior is battling 6-6, 330-pound junior college transfer Marcus Gordon for one of the two open tackle positions.

"I'm excited for him," Petrino said. "He had a really good day yesterday. He's back bending and moving and doing a good job. His pass protection is probably ahead of his run blocking, but that's what the spring is for, to get him caught up. He's really motivated. I've never seen him as focused as he is now."

"Renardo is excited about taking that spot back," Petrino added.

Petrino vindicated by court decision

Bobby Petrino and Louisville football program were vindicated Thursday afternoon when a Jefferson Court jury voted 12-0 against the lawsuit filed by former walk-on offensive lineman Ryan Hollifield. Hollifield sued U of L for more than $100,000, claiming he didn't receive a scholarship that was promised to him during the recruiting process.

"I was disappointed we were ever in court," Petrino said. "It's been frustrating and stressful this week. I'm glad it's over with, and I'm glad it came out the way it did."

Though practice began Wednesday, Petrino spent several hours testifying about the matter earlier this week. Petrino said he's ready to put the episode, and the related distractions, to rest.

"I'd prefer to never talk about it again because I've already wasted too much time on it," Petrino said.

Battle up front heating up

The battle to replace departed offensive linemen Travis Leffew, Jason Spitz and Jeremy Darveau is about to heat up this weekend when the Cardinals put on the pads for the first time.

Two returning starters, sophomore center Eric Wood, and senior guard Kurt Quarterman, appear secure in their jobs. The other three spots, however, are up for grabs.

"I think Eric Wood is settled in at center, though I do like what Michael Sturgeon has done," Petrino said. "We'll probably take a day and move Eric to guard, and put Sturgeon in there at center."

Quarterman, is nursing an injury to start spring practice. The 6-5, 330-pound guard isn't quite yet back to 100 percent. "He's got a groin injury that has kind of limited him," Petrino said.

Petrino has also been impressed with junior college transfer Marcus Gordon.

"Marcus Gordon has shown a lot," Petrino said. "He's changed his body a lot in a year. He's much more physical and stronger, and he's much more flexible.

Four players, according to Petrino, are fighting daily to replace Spitz and Leffew.

"George Bussy, Danny Barlow, Breno Giacomini, and Marcel Benson will battle for those spots on the other side of the ball," said Petrino. "We'll just keep mixing them around until they start separating from each other."

Tidbits

  • Maurice Urrutia, the younger brother of sophomore Mario Urrutia, attended Thursday's practice session. Urrutia was slated to join the U of L team this spring as a safety, but wasn't able to because he was shot several months ago in an altercation at a local nightclub.
  • Two signees, Aundre Henderson and Pete Nochta, attended practice.
  • Don't be suprised if Deon Palmer earns a starting spot at safety this spring. Palmer picked off a pass Thursday, and his leadership ability was on display when he instructed and encouraged a younger teammate during skelly drills.


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