Imagine what Bobby Petrino's defense can do if they ever get fully healthy.
The Cardinals have been banged up this season, especially on defense. Defensive end Jonathan Holston broke his fibula before the season, and three other starters – tackle Adrian Grady (broken ankle), cornerback Rod Council (ankle) and linebacker Abe Brown (shoulder) – have missed games.
Now, it appears Louisville is finally getting healthy. That's got to be music to Petrino's ears, particularly with Big East play set to begin next week when Cincinnati visits Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
"We're hoping Holston will be back (this week), but I don't know if he'll be able to go 100 percent (against Middle Tennessee State)," Petrino said Monday afternoon. "He's getting closer and closer."
It's possible Council and Grady could return against MTSU this Friday in Nashville, though it's probably more likely they'll both return to action against Cincinnati in two weeks.
"Rod Council will come out today and do some work," Petrino said. "It's still up in the air whether he'll be ready for this game (MTSU) or not. But he'll be out there for individual work and maybe some skelly."
"Adrian Grady will do some work in practice today," Petrino added. "He actually does better and feels better when he's competing and doing the inside work than just running forty yards down the field. That's actually harder on him than playing in the game. His status is still up in the air. Hopefully, for sure, he'd be ready for Cincinnati."
Brown, who injured his shoulder against Miami, didn't play two weeks ago against Kansas State. Safety Jon Russell has also been banged up in recent weeks. Both players, however, will be ready to go against MTSU.
"Abe and Jonathan Russell will be ready to go," Petrino said.
True freshman safety Brandon Heath has also returned to practice last week after breaking his foot prior to the season-opener.
"As of right now we plan to redshirt him," Petrino said. "He's a long way away and is mentally behind as far as knowing the package. But he looks good physically. He can really run around and break on the football."