Spring Practice: Notes, Quotes and Tidbits

InsideTheVille.com's spring practice notebook is stocked full of notes, quotes and tidbits from the practice field. What does Steve Kragthorpe think about Vic Anderson, JaJuan Spillman and Johnnie Burns? Who has emerged at right guard this spring? How is depth on the offensive line coming along? InsideTheVille.com has the latest.

Anderson making big impact
Redshirt freshman Victor Anderson has shown this spring that he's ready to make a big impact on the field for the Louisville offense. Anderson, a highly recruited player two years ago out of St. Xavier HS, has scored touchdowns in both of the Cardinals spring scrimmages, including three in the first scrimmage.

"Vic's doing some good things for us," Kragthorpe said. "I'm really pleased with the way Vic is running behind his pads right now. We all knew coming in here that he has great speed and playmaking ability on the outside but the thing I really like about Vic right now is that he's becoming a more complete player.

Anderson has shown big play ability in practice and scrimmages this spring. He makes spectacular cuts to make would-be tacklers miss and shows explosiveness through the hole. And he's also shown he can deliver a blow to the defender, as corner Woodny Turenne learned on Saturday.

JaJuan Spillman has become a more consistent
wide receiver this spring.

"He's got to be able to run behind his pads and he's doing that better. He's got to be a pass protector he's doing better there," said Kragthorpe. "There's still some room for improvement in a couple areas but I like Vic's attitude and I like the physicalness he's playing with. That's something I wasn't sure of but he's making me sure of it now."

Coach Speak
Kragthorpe comments on JaJuan Spillman and Johnnie Burns:

"He's doing a good job for us," Kragthorpe said of Spillman. "He's becoming a more complete player. He can run and make plays down the field and he's doing a good job blocking.

"Johnnie's doing some good things for us but we're looking at consistency," Kragthorpe said. "What we see when he makes a play is a flash of brilliance. What I want to see is consistent flashes of brilliance."

Kuyateh takes command at guard
Abdul Kuyateh and Brian Roche were battling earlier this spring for the starting job at right guard. During the first two weeks of spring practice the two went back and forth working with the first team. But as spring drills have progressed, Kuyateh, a 6-3, 295-pound former JUCO transfer, has gained an advantage over Roche.

"Abdul has kind of extended himself a little ahead of Brian," offensive line coach Brent Myers said. "He's playing a little bit better and he's a little more athletic. He's a physical guy. He came in the fall and he had to try to catch up and he's finally gotten to the point where he's caught up. The thing I like about him is that he's improved everyday he's been here. He struggled at times during the season last year because he just wasn't sure of himself. When he's sure of himself he's pretty good."

Cards still building depth on the o-line
Louisville's starting rotation along the offensive front appears set with Eric Wood at center, Mark Wetterer and Abdul Kuyateh at guard and George Bussey and Jeff Adams at tackle. Myers, however, is still trying to build depth with his unit.

"We've got to get our two's as ready as we possibly can in case somebody gets hurt," Myers said. "What hurt us last year was losing Marcel Benson and Mike Donoghue because those guys were both really good players. This year, losing Danny Barlow and those two career kids, plus Breno Giacomini – I've got some challenges ahead."

So what does Myers think about Louisville's depth up front?

Louisville is hoping to redshirt promising
true freshman Mario Benavides.

"A couple guys have really improved," said Myers. "Ryan Kessling has done a really nice job of improving. Josh Byrom has improved tremendously. Nick Borgelt is very steady. But the young guy that I'm really excited about is Mario Benavides."

Benavides, a true freshman, graduated early from high school and enrolled at Louisville for the spring semester. With second team center Nick Borgelt absent from practices last week, the 6-4, 285-pound Benavides saw significant action as the No. 2 center. He'll likely be counted on to step into Eric Wood's shoes next season.

"Because Nick was sick and out with a virus for a couple of days Mario had to run with the two's as a center and that was invaluable to him," Myers said. "He is going to be a really fine player. I'm hoping that we can redshirt him because he's got a really bright future. He is very intelligent and very competitive. For a kid who should still be in high school that speaks volumes about his maturity. He loves it here and he loves college football. He is hanging on every word that Eric Wood says which is great because he couldn't learn from anybody better than Eric."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories