quarterback battle Thursday.
There were a few notable absences on the first day of practice. Junior college transfers Joe Evinger and Terence Simien didn't practice and neither did projected starter Tyler Jessen. Team officials said that Simien should be on the field tomorrow and that Jessen missed practice because of personal reasons but should return soon. Evinger, a monster 6-6, 330 offensive lineman still awaits academic clearance.
Vocal leadership on offense will come from wide receiver Trent Guy. Guy was emotionally charged on the first day and loudly encouraged his teammates during practice. Guy said he's back to full strength after practice, though he still wants to gain of few pounds before the season.
Replacing Eric Wood and George Bussey on the offensive line won't be easy. Louisville opened camp with Jeff Adams and Greg Tomczyk at tackles, Mark Wetterer and Abdul Kuyateh at guard and Mario Benavides at center.
Jon Dempsey leads the way on defense from his middle linebacker position. He was flanked by Brandon Heath and Antwon Canady on the first team. Dexter Heyman, Stephen Garr and Chris Campa rounded out the second team.
The first team defensive line consisted of L.T. Walker and L.D. Scott at tackle and Greg Scruggs and William Savoy at end. Scott intercepted Adam Froman late in practice. Also keep an eye out for junior college transfer Tim High. You won't miss the massive defensive tackle this season. While he won't run any plays down he's certainly got enough size to clog up the middle.
Don't be shocked if true freshman Andrell Smith makes an impact this season even in a crowded wide receiver scenario. Smith has all the tools to be the next great receiver at Louisville – size, speed, and hands. Smith runs good routes, has soft hands and catches the ball out from his body and displays incredible balance along the sideline.
The tempo of practice seemed improved. So did the intensity, even without pads. There's a lot of competition at several key positions and that lends itself to a highly charged atmosphere. There's also a lot of coaching going on, especially in the secondary where several newcomers – junior college transfers and freshmen – could be counted on this season. Larry Slade was really coaching his guys up on opening day.
Scott Long was back on the field. Long wore a brace on his surgically repaired right leg and it's going to take him some time to get back into the swing of things. If he comes back fully healthy it would provide a big boost to the Louisville offense.
The offense spent considerable time working on downfield blocking drills early in practice. Expect to see lots of screen passes to both the running backs and wide receivers. That could be a perfect fit for shifty backs Victor Anderson and Darius Ashley and speedy wide outs Trent Guy and Doug Beaumont.