Long appears ready to contribute

Is Scott Long finally ready to make a contribution on the field for the University of Louisville? Judging by the talented 6-foot-3 sophomore's play this spring, the answer to that question would be a resounding yes.

Is Scott Long finally ready to make a contribution on the field for the University of Louisville? Judging by the talented 6-foot-3 sophomore's play this spring, the answer to that question would be a resounding yes.

Long arrived at U of L two years ago as highly-regarded wide receiver from Southport, North Carolina. Blessed with ideal size and excellent speed, Long promised to be next in a long line of exceptional Louisville pass catchers that stretched from Deion Branch to J.R. Russell.

But after a redshirt season in 2005, Long never got going last season during the Cardinals run to the Orange Bowl. Long had some off the field trouble, too, but mostly he simply wasn't consistent enough in practice to warrant opportunity during games.

Now, locked into a fierce competition for the No. 3 wide receiver spot alongside stars Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia, Long appears to be staking his claim. Battling talented players like JaJuan Spillman, Chris Vaughn, Pat Carter, Trent Guy and Corey Thompson day-in and day-out, however, is no easy proposition.

"The competition is endless," Long said. "We're out here every day going at it hard in one on ones, skelly and we're all out here competing trying to get a job."

During Saturday's scrimmage, Long made a huge statement. On one particular play, he made a diving grab along the sidelines for a big gain. Later, Long caught a 15 yard touchdown pass from Hunter Cantwell.

It's those types of plays that could help separate Long from the crowd.

"You have to take advantage of your opportunities," Long said. "Some guys get more opportunities than others, but when the ball comes your way you've got to catch it, you've got to be open and you've got to do the little things like blocking – and separate yourself that way."

That's something that's plagued Long in the past – catching the ball consistently. He's always had great size and speed, but hasn't yet been able to put it all together and make a contribution.


Scott Long

"I would say concentration on the football used to be a problem," said Long. "I had some times last year I was open and the ball would come my way and I'd loose focus and try to run without the football.

"I've just been concentrating on trying to catch everything that comes to me and learning how to read coverages better. I've really been trying to study a lot of film and help myself in that aspect."

Last season, Brian Brohm's primary targets were Douglas, Urrutia and tight end Gary Barnidge. Those three combined to catch 158 passes. In contrast, the number three wide receiver behind Douglas and Urrutia – Spillman - only had six receptions in 13 games.

Don't expect that to be the case next season. Not with so many talented options and new offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs calling the plays.

"I don't want it to be like that (again)," Stubbs said. "If you charted our scrimmages, I'll bet we've had a dozen to fifteen guys catch ball. That's the way I like to play."

Though Stubbs has been impressed with Long's play this spring, he's counting on a host of players stepping up and catching passes to compliment Douglas, Urrutia and Barnidge. Still, Long seemingly has made a favorable impression on Louisville's new coordinator.

"He's doing well and I'm excited for him," Stubbs said.

For his part, Long is confident that next season will be his breakout year.

"Scott Long is definitely going to make some noise this year," he said.


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