Cards young receivers have much to prove

Louisville's linebacker corps will be the most inexperienced unit on the field during Sunday's Governor's Cup matchup against Kentucky. The Cardinals wide receivers aren't far behind. Can the new guys step up and make enough plays against a solid Kentucky defense?

That's the big question facing Chris Vaughn, Doug Beaumont, Troy Pascley, Josh Chichester and Maurice Clark heading into the season opener against the Wildcats.

Soph. wide receiver Doug Beaumont will play
a key role against Kentucky.

Hunter Cantwell won't have the luxury of throwing to NFL-caliber receivers like Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia. He also won't have junior wide out Scott Long, expected to be Louisville's go-to receiver, to connect with. That means a host of inexperienced wide outs must be ready to make some plays – and catches – against a Kentucky defense that ranked 26th in the nation against the pass in '07.

"I feel good about them," Kragthorpe said. "It's an interesting group. We're relatively young and inexperienced. I think Chris Vaughn is poised to have a really good year and I think Doug Beaumont could step up into a role. We know we don't have a lot of experience in game situations but I like this group. They're talented, they work hard, they're very coachable and I think they're ready to prove to people that they're capable of playing at this level."

Kragthorpe is hopeful that junior wide receiver Trent Guy will be ready to play against Kentucky. Guy, who was shot outside a downtown nightclub in July, returned to practice this week and will be evaluated further during practice this week. If Guy doesn't play, Louisville will have to rely on a receiving corps that collectively caught only two passes last season – both by Vaughn.

"Trent's situation is day to day," Kragthorpe said. "We're going to continue to evaluate him. He got some practice repetitions in last week. We'll actually give him a full week of practice this week and see how he responds. It's going to be a game day decision. We're not going to put him out there unless he feels he's ready to go."

Louisville is hopeful that Trent Guy will play
against the Wildcats.

Kragthorpe understands that injuries like the one junior receiver Scott Long suffered last week are part of the game, especially when fall camp gets as physical as the one the Cards just finished.

"It's the nature of the game," Kragthorpe said. "This is a contact sport and we know on occasion guys are going to get banged up. We just continue to find guys that can step up in the event that somebody does get banged up. It's an opportunity for another guy to step in and make plays."

Now, Kragthorpe is hopeful that some of the young wide receivers he works with closely each day in practice are ready to step in and help keep Louisville's offense flying high.

"Scott is going to be gone for a couple weeks but Josh (Chichester) and Troy Pascley have done a great job of stepping up into that vacated spot and they're excited about the opportunity to compete on Sunday," Kragthorpe said.

Kragthorpe's conceptual philosophy of offense could pay off for the Cardinals. The Louisville coach says he prepares his receivers to play multiple positions so that injuries can be overcome.

"Those guys are all interchangeable," Kragthorpe said. "Let's say you're No. 1 Z (receiver) goes down and you're No. 2 Z is your fifth best receiver but you're No. 2 X (receiver) is you're third best receiver. He's got to be able to go over and play Z because he's the next best available guy to play. We get more depth because all of our guys play multiple positions."

The challenge for Vaughn, Beaumont, Pascley, Chichester and Clark now is to apply what they do in practice each day in a game-day situation. The outcome of Sunday's Governor's Cup could depend on their success.

"We've been on the driving range and now we're going to go out on the first tee and see how we play and respond when we turn on the lights," said Kragthorpe. "I'm confident our guys are going to respond in the right way."

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