If you like offensive fireworks you would have enjoyed the show Hunter Cantwell and the Louisville offense put on Saturday morning at PJCS.
Right from the start, the Cardinals offense showed it was going to be a rough day for Ron English's defensive troops.
On the first series of the scrimmage, backed up on their own 1-yard line, the offense went six plays for the first of many touchdowns on the day.
Brock Bolen established offensive superiority on the first play from scrimmage, breaking tackles in the end zone before busting outside for a sizeable gain up the sideline to about the 30. Later, Cantwell hit Doug Beaumont on a simple hitch and the sophomore wide receiver did the rest, eluding tacklers on his way for a 40 yard TD.
The second series of the scrimmage wasn't any better for the defense. In fact, it was worse. Backup quarterback Matt Simms found Troy Pascley behind the defense on the second team's first play from scrimmage and the talented sophomore raced 99 yards for another touchdown.
"We kind of dominated today and played really well and sometimes you just have those days," Cantwell said. "The defense didn't have their best day today and we stepped up and put a lot of points on the board."
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There were so many touchdowns during the two-hour scrimmage it was hard to keep count. Bilal Powell scored at least two touchdowns on the ground, while Victor Anderson had at least one score. Cantwell also had a touchdown pass to JaJuan Spillman, while Simms also threw touchdown passes to Beaumont and 6-8 wide receiver Josh Chichester. Tyler Wolfe had the most spectacular pass of the day, a scrambling heave to tight end Johnny Burns in the back of the end zone for another touchdown.
Cantwell threw for almost 200 yards and, while he had one interception, was sound most of the scrimmage.
"I thought I got us into the right checks and was able to let the running backs really hit the holes and they ran well today," Cantwell said. "The offensive line played great and the receivers played good. So I was happy with it."
But the story of the day was Louisville ground attack. Led by Powell, Anderson and Bolen, the UofL offense completely dominated the defense on the ground.
"Vic, Bilal, Brock - they all ran well," Cantwell said. "They're all really tough and have great eyes for holes. It's great to see them running because when they are running and breaking tackles that opens up the passing game."
"I think you're seeing 33, 32 and 20 can tote it pretty well," added coach Steve Kragthorpe. "Those guys are tough to tackle."
And while his defense had a rather poor day, Kragthorpe seemed pleased overall with what he saw from his troops.
"We got 94-95 snaps and I was targeting 100 so we got what we wanted," Kragthorpe said. "We came out pretty clean as far as injuries. We had some penalties on the offensive side of the ball that we did a good job overcoming.
"Defensively I think we did a good job running to the ball and striking people. We're still a few guys away in terms of injuries that are out for the spring that will help us in the fall. I think our defensive coach is doing a great job."
Several key defensive performers sat out the scrimmage due to injury. Projected starters James Bryant (LB), Johnny Patrick (CB), Latarrius Thomas (S) and Maurice Mitchell did not play during Saturday's scrimmage.
Among the few highlights for the defense - Adrian Grady, Tyler Jessen and L.D. Scott each recorded sacks, while linebacker Mozell Axson intercepted Hunter Cantwell.
"I was pleased with the effort overall," Kragthorpe said. "The execution can always improve and that's what we've got to focus on these next three days. We've got to get back to the basics and continue working to be a good football team."
Besides the scrimmage, it is an important recruiting weekend for Louisville. The Cardinals hosted more than two hundred high school prospects for Junior Day. Those prospects had a chance to eye the facilities, meet with coaches and watch some of the scrimmage action inside the stadium.
"There is no doubt it's big to us," Kragthorpe said. "We're trying to get guys to come on campus and see what a great opportunity they would have here. It's a great academic opportunity, it's a great athletic opportunity and it's a great social situation because you get to live in Louisville."