Spring Practice Notebook: Day 7

Louisville returned to the practice field for the first time since last Thursday's scrimmage action. InsideTheVille.com has comments from Steve Kragthorpe, an update on Brandon Heath and Johnny Patrick's transition to the secondary and much more in this Spring Practice Notebook.

After watching the film from Louisville's first major scrimmage action of spring practice, Steve Kragthorpe seemed pleased with his team's effort on several fronts. InsideTheVille.com caught up with Kragthorpe after Monday's practice and asked him about his thoughts on the scrimmage after reviewing the tape.

"I thought we did some really good things. I thought the tempo was good and we didn't turn the ball over and we minimized penalties. I thought really for the most part we played pretty cleanly and that's what I wanted to see more than anything.

"I thought both sides had their moments in terms of execution and I guess as a head coach that's what you want to see. You want to see both sides play well. There were points in time offensively where we were playing extremely well and got off to a fast start and then the defense kind of rallied a little, so that was good to see.

"I thought we competed hard against each other and played hard the entire scrimmage and got a lot of good work in. I thought Brian threw the ball well, and so did Hunter. Obviously, Harry made some plays for us not only in catching the football, but he did a good job running the ball a couple of times. Jajuan Spillman made some plays for us and I thought Anthony (Allen) and Sergio (Spencer) ran the ball hard between the tackles and got some tough yards after contact, which is what we want to see our backs do."


Steve Kragthorpe is looking
for more depth along
the offensive front.

"Obviously this is a huge week for us. We've got to make a lot of progress this week and take what we've learned coming out of the scrimmage and clean things up. We've got to take these four days before we scrimmage again on Saturday afternoon and get them cleaned up so we're playing more efficiently and consistently."

O-Line Depth a Concern?

Steve Kragthorpe came away from Thursday's scrimmage happy with the play of his first team offensive line. Through the first two weeks of spring practice, it appears that new starters Marcel Benson and Breno Giacomini have blended nicely with returning starters Eric Wood, Danny Barlow and George Bussey.

However, depth behind that first unit appears a concern. Besides sophomore guard Mike Donoghue, Kragthorpe doesn't have much experienced depth at all, though there's plenty of size, talent and potential. Sophomore Brian Roche has moved to center and is working with the second team, as is redshirt freshman Jeff Adams, senior Marcus Gordon and redshirt freshman Josh Byrom.

"It's an area where I want to continue to build," Kragthorpe said Monday. "I think our frontline offensive line guys are playing extremely well, but we've got to get more guys to step up.

"I feel comfortable when you've got eight or nine linemen that can play and we're not at that point right now. So we've got to continue to improve in that second group to where we feel like we can interchange any of those guys and put them into the game at any point in time and not miss a beat."

Brandon Heath Returns

Brandon Heath returned to full contact Monday. Heath, a talented redshirt freshman safety, made a quick impact on the field, intercepting a pass in the end zone toward the end of practice.

"It was good to get him back," Kragthorpe said. "We've kind of eased him back in off that foot injury and he's done a good job of working mentally while he's not been in there. It's good to see him out here moving around again.

Heath participated in some individual drills last week, but didn't take part in contact drills or Thursday's scrimmage. If all goes well this week, Kragthorpe expects Heath to play in Saturday's scrimmage.

"We kind of eased him into last week with a few individual drills, but held him out of the scrimmage because we didn't feel like it was fair to him to throw him in there after he had just come back out," Kragthorpe said. "Hopefully, he'll have a good week of practice and we can get him some good valuable reps on Saturday."

"I'm about 85% right now," Heath told InsideTheVille.com. "I'm going full speed and I didn't feel any pain at all today."

Patrick Makes Progress


Johnny Patrick

Redshirt freshman Johnny Patrick has progressed on a daily basis since spring practice started March 30. The former Scout.com three-star wide receiver prospect was moved to cornerback prior to the start of spring and he is beginning to display signs of becoming a future standout in the Cardinals secondary.

After working exclusively at corner throughout the first week of spring practice, Patrick made a few plays of note on Monday. The 6'0 186-pound Deland, Florida product received a few snaps with the first team defense and made two impressive plays on the ball - perfectly reaching in front of the intended receiver and knocking the ball to turf.

"Johnny's doing some good things," said Kragthorpe. "I like Johnny. I think he's got good foot turnover and quickness and he's a very good competitor and that's what we need our corners to be if we're going to go out there and play man-to-man coverage.

"We have to have guys that are willing to get up in (wide receivers) faces and have confidence and play very physically and aggressive. The best thing about our situation here at Louisville is we've got some great receivers we have to work against on a daily basis, so our DB's are going to be challenged and that makes for some great practices and matchups and the opportunity for everybody to get better. And I think Johnny's improving on a daily basis."

NOTES:

  • Victor Anderson again attended Louisville's practice on Monday. Since practice began late last month, Anderson has missed only one practice session.
  • The Cardinals will conduct their second scrimmage of spring on Saturday at noon. Saturday is also the program's junior day and many high school prospects from throughout the state and region are expected to be in attendance.

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