Spring Practice Report: Pads on

On the third day of spring practice, Louisville put the pads on and the hitting commenced. The Cardinals had a high-intensity, two and half hour practice Tuesday with lots of hitting and lots of ‘live' action. InsideTheVille.com spoke with Steve Kragthorpe after practice and has all the highlights.

"It's good to get out here and finally play some football," Kragthorpe said. "I thought we were very physical and got a lot of team repetitions in. For the most part we came out pretty clean."

During the last 35-40 minutes of practice, Kragthorpe's team went ‘live,' meaning hitting wasn't optional it was a requirement. The Cardinals worked 11-on-11 on third down situations, took a short break and came back and went live again.

"I liked some of the things the defense did in terms of putting a hat on the ball," said Kragthorpe. "And I liked some of the things the offense did in terms of running the ball. Now we've got to continue to work to be consistent."

Ball carriers don't want to run into senior
linebacker James Bryant.

One other thing is clear for the remainder of spring practice, Kragthorpe expects his team to be physical and get after it every single day they take the field.

"Something we're going to do every day is emphasize putting pads on pads," Kragthorpe said.

As the new wide receiver coach, in addition to his duty as head coach, Kragthorpe gets a close look at the receivers every day. Several players from that group were impressive during Tuesday's practice, not the least of which were junior Trent Guy and sophomore Doug Beaumont.

"Doug and Trent are doing a good job and Scotty is making some plays for us," said Kragthorpe. "We've got to continue to find guys that are going to step up all the time. Josh Chichester is making some plays and Chris Vaughn is doing a good job for us. We'd like to find 7 or 8 guys we can count on on a consistent basis so we can stretch the field vertically throughout the whole game."

While the offense looked good running the ball during Tuesday's physical session, Kragthorpe is still trying to sort out the situation at tight end. The problem: There's not a lot of proven experience to work with, though sophomore Pete Nochta looks like he's stepping up and trying hard to claim the top spot on the depth chart.

"It's coming along," Kragthorpe said of the tight end position. "That's a huge area of emphasis for us because it's a great void losing Scott Kuhn and Gray Barnidge. We don't have a lot of experience and those guys have got to grow up really quickly."

"Pete's done a good job," Kragthorpe added. "He's still young and a little inexperienced but his want-to is big. And that gives him an opportunity."

Bilal Powell ran well during practice Tuesday.

Spring Practice: Tuesday Highlights
Johnny Patrick had an up and down practice. He was sensational one moment, suspect the next. The sensational part came during 1 on 1 passing drills in which Patrick, a 6-0 cornerback, intercepted two passes. The bad came when Patrick was beaten deep by both Scott Long and Troy Pascley.

Several players sat out Tuesday's practice with various injuries, including running back Dale Martin, linebacker Eugene Sowell, safety Latarrius Thomas, tight end Zach Meagher and wide receiver JaJuan Spillman. Spillman injured his ankle last week but is expected to be back practicing in a couple of days.

Senior running back George Stripling is suspended for the entire spring practice. He is expected to be back with the team in the fall.

Brock Bolen missed some practice time last week with a virus but was back on the field Tuesday and looked stronger than ever running the football. On one running play, Bolen punished cornerback Woodney Turenne to pick up a 3rd and 6 and more.

Sophomore defensive end Rodney Gnat forced a fumble in the backfield during the ‘live' 11-on-11 portion of practice.

The second team offensive line consists of Ryan Kessling and Greg Tomczyk at tackle, Josh Byrum and Abdul Kuyateh at guard and Nick Borgelt at center.

The play of the day might have been linebacker James Bryant's play in the backfield against Bilal Powell. Bryant, an impressive physical specimen from Miami, simply blew up Powell five yards deep in the backfield.

Trent Guy and Doug Beaumont both made big plays in the 11-on-11 ‘live' portion. Guy made a nice reception over the middle, broke several tackles and went the distance for a 60 yard touchdown. Beaumont, who looks much more trim and quicker this spring, made a nifty catch and move for a 25 yard gain.

During the third down simulation portion of practice, Louisville set it up like this: first play – 3rd and 3, second play – 3rd and 6, third play – 3rd and 9. During that session, the offense went 6 of 12 converting third down. At one point, the defense made four straight stops, but the offense then converted three straight times.

Louisville signee Keith Baker, a talented linebacker from New Jersey, attended practice. He arrived in town over the weekend and will spend the week in Louisville observing drills and spring practice.

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