Spring Practice: Offensive Notebook

With less than two weeks before the spring game, Louisville's offense appears to be making progress picking up Mike Sanford's spread-option attack. Sanford, quarterback Adam Froman and wide receiver Doug Beaumont recently discussed the offenses progress this spring.

Offense picking up spread-option

Though Louisville's offense had a few costly turnovers during Saturday's scrimmage in the Red Zone, the Cardinals continued to show signs of having a more vibrant offense this spring.

"We're still in the early stages halfway through spring practice and there are still mistakes here and there but this was 10 times better than our first scrimmage," Froman said. "There was a lot more competition and executed assignments on both sides of the ball."

Froman said the offense continues to make strides learning offensive coordinator Mike Sanford's spread-option attack.

"It's not a complicated offense to learn but evidently it's a complicated offense for the defense to figure out," Froman said. "Everybody's picking it up pretty fast and we've pretty much got the basics down. Now it's just getting the specialty stuff that can help us out in certain situations that we're trying to figure out."

One thing about Louisville's defense that makes it hard for defenses to stop is that the quarterback is a viable running threat on every play, whether designed or not. Froman said that wasn't necessarily the case last year and he expects it to benefit the Cardinals passing numbers.

"They've always got to account for us and that's going to help our passing game," Froman said.

With just two weeks before the April 16 spring game, Froman said the offense needs to get on the same page.

"We've just got to execute as one group," said Froman said. "We've got to have every single person on the right page. From now until the end that's going to be our focus."

Sanford wants offense to eliminate mistakes

Mike Sanford's spread-option attack is a versatile offense that keeps the defense off-balance when run correctly. That's why the Cardinals offensive coordinator wants his unit to eliminate turnovers and costly mistakes, something that plagued the offense during Saturday's scrimmage.


"I felt we had too many turnovers on offense," Sanford said. "One of the biggest things we've got to do is protect the football. We had a couple interceptions, a couple of fumbled snaps. We've got to improve that. We had a couple of penalties in certain situations and we can't have that, especially in the red zone."

Sanford singled out two seniors from Saturday's scrimmage – running back Bilal Powell and receiver Doug Beaumont. Powell had the longest run from scrimmage of the day with the offense pinned at the one yard line, while Beaumont scored a pair of touchdowns.

"I think Bilal Powell did some really good things," Sanford. "He's the one that stood out. And I thought Doug Beaumont showed up. He's a playmaker."

Though Sanford is pleased with the progress the offense made during the first two weeks, he's looking for more improvement during the last two weeks of spring practice.

"We've got a long ways to go," Sanford said. "We've made progress. But we've got to score more and get first downs. And we've got to be more consistent."

Sanford also wants to see quarterbacks Adam Froman and Justin Burke play a larger role in the Cards' offense.

"The quarterback is an eligible runner and a receiver," Sanford said. "The quarterback is going to be a part of this offense. How much we run them is going to depend on how things develop. This offense involves the quarterback being somebody the defense has to worry about. There's a fine. We've got to keep a new balance."

Overall, Sanford said he's pleased with the quarterbacks and offensive linemen this spring.

"I think the quarterbacks and offensive line have adapted well to the new system," Sanford said. "I think we still have some work to do at the other positions. But quarterback and offensive line have done a great job of adjusting."

Beaumont says offense still thinking, not reacting

Doug Beaumont said the Louisville offense is still thinking about Mike Sanford's offense on the field, instead of reacting and making plays. That's to be expected considering the Cardinals are learning an entirely new offense this spring.

"I feel like we're getting there but overall we've still got improvements to make," Beaumont said. "Pretty soon it's going to be a natural thing to us and we'll be able to be successful in this offense."

Beaumont appeared to have the new offense down pat in Saturday's scrimmage, scoring two touchdowns – one on a reverse, the other on a pass reception.

"I just went out there and try to make plays," Beaumont said. "It's my senior year and I know I've got to finish with a bang and I'm trying to do whatever I can to help the team win big games."

Though Beaumont scored twice during the scrimmage, he's still looking for his first touchdown at Louisville. If the early returns this spring are an indication, expect Beaumont to score several times during the season.

"It always stays on the back of my mind," Beaumont said. "I've got pretty much 1,000 yards without a touchdown and it's my senior year and I know I have to do whatever it takes to get into the end zone. I'm not going to stress about it but if I do get in there I hope the [Louisville] crowd is behind me and everybody cheers."


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