Wood: Cards trying to become more physical

Eric Wood has seen it all during his time at UofL. He's won a BCS bowl game, gone through a coaching change and experienced the disappointment of missing the post-season last year. After Saturday's first scrimmage of the spring, Wood spoke with InsideTheVille.com about the Cardinals progress this spring.

"We've got a long ways to go," Wood said. "Offensively and defensively we did some good things but we also did some bad things. To get to where we want to get we need to get a lot better fundamentally. We've got a lot of young guys that are trying and giving good effort and tempo and that really want to be here and get better."

For the past three seasons, Wood, an All-Big East center, has snapped to Brian Brohm. Now, Wood is adjusting to working with the Cardinals new quarterback, 6-4 Hunter Cantwell. Cantwell has been impressive this spring and threw for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns in UofL's first scrimmage Saturday afternoon at PJCS.

"I think he played really well," Wood said. "We had a few drops that might have skewed his completion (percentage) but I thought he played really well."

After struggling with the running game during a disappointing 6-6 season last year, Louisville – and new offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm - has placed an increased emphasis on running the football. During Saturday's scrimmage, Bilal Powell, Victor Anderson and Brock Bolen carried the load for the Cardinals offense.

"They all showed that they can play and they all give their mix," Wood said. "It kind of reminds me of a few years ago with Lionel Gates, Michael Bush and Kolby Smith. Everyone brought their thing to the table and we ended up being Top 5 in the country in rushing. It's kind of a similar situation."

The theme for Louisville this spring has been ‘new.' There's a new quarterback, new coordinators and several new faces all over the field. On the offensive line, the Cards are breaking in three new starters. Wood, along with tackle George Bussey, are the only two returning starters on the line. Sophomore Jeff Adams (right tackle), junior Brian Roche (guard) and sophomore Mark Wetterer (guard) comprise the Cardinals new offensive line.

"The past few years I've been in the middle and everything has changed around me year in and year out," Wood said. "So it's going to be another one of those processes. We've got a lot of young guys with a lot of talent we've just got to get them to mature and play on a consistent basis."

Wood says that's the biggest challenge?

"Some of these guys are young and inexperienced and it's just time to grow up and make plays," Wood said. "They are really trying and really working. I'm really encouraged with the way they played today."

Wood, a veteran team leader, has noticed some changes this spring with the addition of Ron English as defensive coordinator and the elevation of Jeff Brohm from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.

"I'd say they are both stressing physicality on a higher note," Wood said. "On offense, we're going to try to run the ball downhill a little bit more to set up the pass. Defensively, Coach English has said to the media countless times that we're going to hit this year. It's exciting to play on a team like that."

Though the Louisville offense clearly got the better of the defense in the first spring scrimmage, Wood says the defense has been more physical and has played with increased enthusiasm this spring.

"You carry off of your coach's enthusiasm and you can definitely tell that the defense is playing off Coach English's enthusiasm," said Wood.

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