Cantwell, offense dominate scrimmage

Hunter Cantwell and the Louisville offense dominated Saturday afternoon's scrimmage – the first formal scrimmage of spring practice. Who stood out? What did Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe think of his teams performance? has a complete report from PJCS.

(Steve Kragthorpe)
(Hunter Cantwell)
(Eric Wood)

Hunter Cantwell led the Louisville offense to a solid performance during Saturday afternoon's scrimmage – the first formal scrimmage of spring practice.

Cantwell threw for almost 200 yards and three touchdowns as the first team offense scored on 7 of 9 possessions during the nearly two hour scrimmage. With Cantwell behind center, the No. 1 offense scored six touchdowns and one field goal.

For the most part, Cantwell made good decisions, was accurate with his throws, made some big pass completions on third down to move the chains and guided the offense into the end zone for touchdowns.

Bilal Powell ran well during the scrimmage.

"I thought (he) was good," Steve Kragthorpe said. "I thought for the most part he did some good things. He missed a few things. But he did a good job of running the huddle and made some good throws."

Cantwell connected with tight end Pete Nochta for the first touchdown of the scrimmage on a nifty play-action, bootleg that completely fooled the defense. Later in the scrimmage, Cantwell hooked up with Scott Long in the end zone on third and long for his second touchdown pass. In the second half, Cantwell found tight end Johnnie Burns for his third touchdown pass of the scrimmage.

"I thought today went well," Cantwell said. "We had some small breakdowns here and there but for the first time on the game field it was expected. I think we took a lot of what the coaches are teaching us in practice and applied it. It's good to see that improvement.

"I thought I did well. I missed a couple throws but that's just getting used to being in front of a defense that's live. But I was happy with the way I played. It makes it easy when you've got receivers making good catches, getting the line blocking and our running game was great. When our running game is marching down the field that opens up the passing game."

Behind a re-tooled offensive line, Louisville got solid performances from Bilal Powell and Victor Anderson in the running game. Anderson, a redshirt freshman from St. Xavier, scored three touchdowns – two of which came for the No. 1 offense, including a nifty eight yard run. Powell also ran well and Brock Bolen scored from two-yards out.

"I thought the tempo was pretty good for the most part we've just got to continue to work on our execution and communication and those things come with time," Kragthorpe said. "As we grade the effort I think the effort will be good. We've just got to continue to execute and the way you execute is you pay great attention to fundamentals and techniques."

The scrimmage was broken down into three segments. During the first part, Louisville ran six series from 30 yard line – three each for the first and second team. During the second, Louisville ran six series starting at the 50 – three for the first unit, two for the second and one for the third team. During the last portion, Louisville ran six ‘red-zone' series beginning at the 20 yard line.

Redshirt freshman Matt Simms played the first series with the No. 2 offense at quarterback. Simms completed two passes on third down to move the chains on his first series – a drive that resulted in a Tim Daugherty 32 yard field goal. After that series, Simms and sophomore Tyler Wolfe rotated series with the second team offense.

On the fourth series, Wolfe connected with sophomore wide receiver Troy Pascley for a 70 yard touchdown.

Eric Wood and the UofL offensive line
provided Hunter Cantwell plenty of
time to find open wid receivers.

Simms threw one interception that Daniel Covington returned to the one. Overall, the second team offense scored three times with Wolfe at quarterback, while they scored only twice with Simms.

With a re-built line that features two new starters, Cantwell had plenty of time in the pocket to find receivers most of the day. Eric Wood and George Bussey, the two returning starters, were joined on the first team line by Brian Roche, Jeff Adams and Mark Wetterer.

"The protection was great," Cantwell said. "They're playing really well. They're smart, they're making their calls on time and keeping the defense off me. You can't ask for any more than that as a quarterback."

On defense, tackle Adrian Grady had a big day, recording two sacks. JUCO transfer safety Josh Wiley was also solid, recording a sack and tackle for loss. Defensive tackle L.T. Walker also was big in the middle stuffing the run.

"He did a good job," Kragthorpe said of Grady. "He got a sack there on the one quick protection and looked like he did a good job in the middle of the defensive line. He's a guy that's got to step up. He didn't last year and he's got to step up this year for us."

And though the offense controlled the scrimmage and scored lots of touchdowns, the defense played with great effort and improved intensity.

"The main thing I was looking for was effort," Kragthorpe said. "If you get great effort you can cover up a few mistakes and we're going to make some. So we've got to play with great effort. Effort is the great equalizer."

The Cardinals will return to the practice field Tuesday afternoon at 4:30.

"Our effort is good. Our tempo is good," Kragthorpe said. "We've just got to do a better job fundamentally and technique-wise so we can execute on a consistent basis."

Scrimmage Notebook

Running back Dale Martin and linebacker Eugene Sowell didn't scrimmage but were both in pads and it appears they could return soon to practice, perhaps sometime next week.

Defensive tackle James McKinney was not present for Saturday's scrimmage. McKinney, a talented transfer from Michigan, also missed Friday's practice.

It appears Earl Heyman has made the transition from tackle to end this spring. Heyman, who has worked at end during the first several practice, played the whole scrimmage at end. L.T. Walker and Adrian Grady started at tackle with L.D. Scott anchoring the end opposite Heyman.

Bobby Buchanan was in uniform but did not participate in the scrimmage.

Starting cornerback Johnny Patrick was shaken up early in the scrimmage. Though Patrick walked off the field he didn't return after the injury.

Tim Daugherty, a transfer kicker from Purdue, appears the No. 1 kicker this spring. Daugherty kicked well during Saturday's scrimmage, connecting on 5 of 6 extra points and making his only field goal attempt.

Doug Beaumont made a pair of big third down and long receptions from Hunter Cantwell to move the chains and keep drives alive.

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