New Coach, Few Differences

Steve Kragthorpe now has his first football practice at the University of Louisville under his belt. Under mostly sunny skies and with several hundred fans in the stands at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Kragthorpe and the Cardinals ushered in spring practice Friday afternoon.

Steve Kragthorpe now has his first football practice at the University of Louisville under his belt. Under mostly sunny skies and with several hundred fans in the stands at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Kragthorpe and the Cardinals ushered in spring practice Friday afternoon.

The Cardinals took the field at around 4:00 p.m and didn't wrap things up until just before seven o'clock. It was a fast paced, high intensity affair.

"The first day was good," Kragthorpe told the media after practice. "I thought the tempo was excellent and the guys came out and flew around. I thought our retention from meeting the past couple weeks was pretty good and there weren't a lot of mistakes. I thought the effort was great and the tempo was good. I thought for the most part it was excellent."

Senior quarterback Brian Brohm was asked following practice to compare Kragthorpe's practice session to former coach Bobby Petrino's. Petrino was noted for a disciplined, fast-paced practice style.

"It was still an up tempo practice and we were going fast," Brohm said. "There are a few things that we are doing differently, but we're getting to know coach's style and everyone likes it.

"I thought it was a real productive (practice). We got a lot of stuff and a lot of plays in. We have to learn the way we're going to run practice and we've got that first practice out of the way. I think we'll come out here tomorrow and know what we're doing more."


Brohm looked sharp on Friday.

The biggest challenge in adjusting from Petrino to Kragthorpe, according to Brohm, is basically a matter of learning the new coach's language.

"It looks similar, but there are a few differences with specific types of drills and we've got to learn how to do that type of stuff to perfection," Brohm said. "I think the first time out some guys were kind of thinking a lot when normally you'd just react. But we'll get those kinks worked out.

"The terminology is different, but obviously there are a lot of things still the same," said Brohm. "Football is football, but there are different ways to call formations and that's really what we're doing differently. The routes look the same, but there's a little (different) terminology that we've got to get used to."

Senior wide receiver Harry Douglas said there's not much difference between Petrino and U of L's new coach.

"They're both the same – you've (still) got to work hard," said Douglas. "It's basically a lot of the same thing. There's a lot more learning right now with a new coach, but once the learning gets down one hundred percent (practice) will be even faster than it was today."

Like Petrino, Kragthorpe wants his players moving fast during practice and giving maximum effort during drills.

"We were just yelling for effort, I think that's the biggest thing," Kragthorpe said. "Football has become a game of speed and I want our guys to play fast on all sides of the ball. That was one of the things I thought we did a good job of today."

Louisville will return to the practice field Saturday afternoon and will be in pads Sunday for the first time this spring. "I think our talent level is good, but we've got to continue to find depth," Kragthorpe said. "We'll throw the pads on Sunday and play some real football."

Though Kragthorpe is regarded as a players coach, Brohm said he's all business on the field, much like Petrino.


Willie Williams watched the
Cards practice Friday.

"I like how he is personally. He comes around and gets to know you off the field," said Brohm. "He kind of jokes around off the field, but once we're on the field everyone saw that he's intense and gets after it."

Spring Practice: Day One Notebook:

Three members of Kragthorpe's 2007 recruiting class were in attendance: St. Xavier running back Victor Anderson, Male wide receiver Doug Beaumont and JUCO All-American linebacker Willie Williams. Williams joked around with athletic director Tom Jurich and spent time talking with Earl Heyman during practice.

Redshirt freshman safety Brandon Heath did not practice. Heath spent the first day of spring practice riding the stationary bicycle and doing conditioning drills on the sidelines.

6-8, 220 pound Josh Chichester practiced with his new team for the first time Friday. Chichester is an imposing physical specimen at wide receiver and made several impressive catches down the field during passing drills.

"Chichester really came out and surprised a lot of us in the winter throwing," Brian Brohm said. "I think he'll be able to do some great things, but I don't know what their plans are with him. He's definitely got the tools to be out there right now."

Brian Brohm said his surgically repaired left shoulder was doing fine after practice. "I finally feel one hundred percent healthy and ready to go," Brohm said. "The shoulder is doing great and I still have full range of motion. It's just something that's going to take time getting the strength back. But other than that it's one hundred percent."

Former Louisville offensive lineman and current Green Bay Packer Jason Spitz attended practice.


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