Steve Kragthorpe concluded an intense practice Tuesday evening with an extremely physical 11-on-11 "mini" scrimmage. The affair was highly competitive and the offense came away victorious. But it was no cakewalk for the offensive stars, who were pushed hard by their defensive counterparts.
The final play of the scrimmage demonstrated the closeness of the competition. Despite near perfect coverage from cornerback Marcus Folmer, senior wide receiver Harry Douglas made an even better break on the ball to haul in a clutch catch.
After Douglas' reception, the offense broke into celebration, cherishing their hard fought victory over their defensive mates. They were also happy because, as the victors, they didn't have to run sprints the width of the field like the defense. As the defensive players ran their sprints, offensive linemen Breno Giacomini, George Bussey and Josh Byrom made sure their less fortunate teammates knew who the winners were.
Some highlights from Tuesday's practice included a long touchdown pass from Brian Brohm to Harry Douglas, a 70 plus yard touchdown run from Sergio Spencer, and a nice blitz for a sack by safety Brandon Heath.
After practice, the redshirt freshmen and greyshirts got in some extra reps. 6-8 freshman wide receiver Josh Chicester put on a show, hauling in a deep pass over the out-stretched arms of cornerback Craig James.
up at wide receiver.
"He has the benefit of coming in here and getting a spring and fall practice under his belt and yet will still be a true freshman when we start fall training camp in August," Kragthorpe said of Chichester. "I think this is an invaluable time for him because he's not only getting an opportunity to learn the system, but he's getting a lot of quality repetitions.
"We're keeping our young guys out here after practice to get a few more reps. But the biggest thing for Josh is that he doesn't have to think about playing in a game. He can just think about improving on a daily basis."
Kragthorpe is also looking for someone other than Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia to step up at wide receiver. While Chichester might still be a year away from contributing on the field, veterans like Scott Long and Chris Vaughn could finally be ready to make an impact for the offense.
"We're going to have to have some guys step up and certainly in the games we want to continue to put pressure on the defense by putting speed on the field," Kragthorpe said. "Harry and Mario are proven commodities and I look for them to have big years, but we've got to have some guys step up and make plays behind them.
"The more playmakers that we have the more ability we'll have to put pressure on the defense. If Scott and Chris can continue to make progress like they have along with guys like JaJuan (Spillman) and Trent Guy we can have the type of high octane offense that we want to have."
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was in Louisville today and was out at football practice this afternoon. Tranghese's purpose for being in Louisville? Apparently, the Big East's top guy wanted to meet new Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe.
Stud local defensive line prospect Brandon Newman attended his second Louisville practice of spring ball. Newman, from PRP, will make a visit to Notre Dame this week.
Louisville will take Wednesday off before returning to the practice field Thursday. The Cardinals will also practice Friday afternoon and will scrimmage Saturday at noon.