PRACTICE REPORT: Shoulder pads go on

Louisville's intensity was turned up a notch as the shoulder pads went on for the first time of fall practice on Thursday. The Cardinals had a spirited two hour practice that saw the defense swarming to the ball and ended with some heated competition between the offense and defense.

Kragthorpe pleased with tempo on first day in shoulder pads

The shoulder pads went on Thursday for the first time of fall camp and there was a higher level of energy and excitement evident on the practice field.

"It was good," Kragthorpe said following practice. "Obviously you can't do everything you can in a football game because we don't have the lowers on yet but I thought we got a lot of good work in. The linemen like it and we got a little inside run drill which was good. We had lot of tempo and got the guys flying around."

The Cardinals put pad on pad during practice.

Energy and excitement were abundant, especially on defense. There were a few heated exchanges between the offense and defense for the second straight practice and neither side appeared to back down from the challenge.

"I thought the excitement was good on both sides of the ball," Kragthorpe said. "We want to come out here and challenge each other every single day in practice and make sure we're taking care of each other. But we're playing fast, playing hard, playing with great tempo and challenging each other every time."

Now through three days of practice, the Cardinals are well on their toward installing their basic offensive and defensive systems. That process is sure to speed up now that the team will practice behind closed doors.

"Offensively and defensively we want to get our base systems in eight practices," Kragthorpe said. "This is still a lot of learning, particularly for the new guys. We're throwing a lot at them and seeing what sticks. And we'll just keep reinstalling it until we go to scout teams ten days before the Kentucky game."

At least so far, the defense seems to be playing with a swagger and energy not as evident during spring ball. Kragthorpe sounded pleased with the progress that unit is making under new coordinator Ron English.

"They're doing a good job," Kragthorpe said. "I think guys are really excited and pretty animated. We want them to fly around and make plays. We want to be physical, aggressive and be a dominating defense."


***Though Zach Kiernan was still in a yellow non-contact jersey, the redshirt freshman defensive lineman wasn't wearing the knee brace on his left knee that he had on the first two days of practice. Kiernan could provide a boost on the line this season.

Ron English's defense swarmed to
ball on Thursday.

***Caleb Newton, a walk-on quarterback, has apparently decided to leave the program. Newton was behind four scholarship quarterbacks on the depth chart.

***Expect to see a much improved Abdul Kuyateh this season. The senior offensive guard, according to a knowledgeable onlooker, has great hands and feet and plays with outstanding leverage.

***Louisville's defense is playing with a new-found confidence and energy this fall, which is certainly a reflection of new coordinator Ron English. The defense has been flying around the field and swarming the ball at the start of camp.

***Louisville appears to have a great shot to land Cal transfer DE Scott Smith, a former three-star prospect from Honolulu, Hawaii. Smith was again at practice on Thursday and insiders say that Oregon and Arizona are the Cardinals competition. Louisville begins classes August 25, so expect to make a decision on his new school very soon.

***Vic Anderson might be small in stature but he doesn't back down to anybody on the field. Not only does he play bigger than his size might otherwise indicate, the talented back brings a lot of heart and energy to the field.

***Wide Receiver Josh Chichester is certainly an improved player and could be a guy who develops into an offensive weapon before long. He stretched out his long 6-foot-8 frame along the sideline to corral a high Hunter Cantwell throw during scrimmage action.

***Scott Long is looking like Louisville's No. 1 wide receiver. He hauled in a ton of catches during practice and boasts the surest hands on offense. Chris Vaughn is also performing well to start camp and he'll be counted on as one of the Cardinals top three receivers. He had a deep reception on Thursday.

***Steve Kragthorpe and Trent Guy were really coaching up true freshman wide out Jacques Caldwell Thursday, particularly about his blocking technique and assignments. Caldwell has blazing speed but needs to become a more consistent pass catcher. It appears the speedster might see some action this fall.

Quotes of the Day:

"I think we've got three or four guys right now that are becoming dependable. That's a term that we use with our receivers – you got to be dependable. We've got to find guys who can do it in the fourth quarter." – Steve Kragthorpe on wide receivers.

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