Louisville's disappointing 6-6 finish in 2007 is in the past. Now it's on to (hopefully) bigger and better things in 2008.
Cardinals begin practice
When fall practice begins later today, the revamped Cardinals will have a new look. Gone are last season's offensive (Charlie Stubbs) and defensive (Mike Cassity) coordinators. They were replaced shortly after last season by Jeff Brohm and Ron English.
Louisville's new coordinators are one reason why Cardinal fans are cautiously optimistic heading into the '08 campaign. While Brohm promises to restore balance to Louisville's offense with added focus on establishing a physical ground attack - something the Cardinals lacked last season under Stubbs - English brings renewed passion and intensity to a Cardinal defense that performed horribly last season.
Several new faces also figure to dot Louisville's early camp two-deep. English hopes junior college transfers Chris Campa, Jon Dempsey and Antwon Canady, as well as true freshman Dexter Heyman, can help solidify the linebacker position. JUCO transfers Josh Wiley and Justin Mathews and true freshman Kardell Dunning and Daniel Brown will be given a chance to earn spots at safety.
On offense, Louisville will break in a new starter at quarterback for the first time in three years. Strong armed, 6-foot-5 senior Hunter Cantwell takes over for record-setting quarterback Brian Brohm. He clearly has big shoes to fill but has the talent to do it.
Scott Long figures to take the lead at wide receiver with Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia now in the NFL. The Cardinals also must replace three starters on the offensive line, plus tight ends Gary Barnidge and Scott Kuhn. Jeff Brohm will count on JUCO's Rock Keys and Cameron Graham, as well as highly-touted true freshman Nate Nord to solidify the tight end position.
It's been four months since Kragthorpe and his new-look staff have had an opportunity to work with the players and the Louisville coach is looking forward to getting on the field for the start of the 2008 season.
"We don't get to coach these guys during the summer and (strength coach) Joe (Kenn) did a great job with all of our players. They look like they're in great shape and now we'll see what kind of shape they're in when we get out there (tomorrow)," Kragthorpe said. "To me the biggest thing you have during the summer is not just the physical part of the workout but the team camaraderie – doing things together."
What will the revamped Cardinals look like on the first day of fall practice? Louisville fans will be able to get their first look at the 2008 Cardinals when practice opens later this afternoon.
***All members of Louisville's 2008 recruiting class, expect defensive tackle Randy Salmon, have reported to camp and will be on the practice field for the start of fall camp.
First three practices open to public
Practice starts at 5:20 Tuesday evening and is open to the public. Louisville will also hold two additional open practices to the public on Wednesday and Thursday before closing camp in preparation for the season-opener August 31 against Kentucky. Both of those practices start at 5:20.
Fan Day set for Saturday, Aug. 9
Louisville will also hold its annual Fan Day on Saturday, August 9 from 9-10 a.m. at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. The Louisville players and head coach Steve Kragthorpe will be available to sign autographs. Posters and schedule cards will be provided at no charge. The event is free of charge.
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