Louisville gears up for first scrimmage

The Louisville football team is gearing up for their first major scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning. After two physical practices Thursday, the Cardinals were back to work Friday morning. Following practice, quarterback Adam Froman and linebacker Dexter Heyman gave InsideTheVille.com the scoop.

Louisville quarterback Adam Froman and his offensive teammates weren't happy with their performance during Thursday morning's practice.

Froman, perhaps the leading candidate to start at quarterback for the Cardinals this season, admitted the defense got the better of his unit during Thursday's first two a day practice. That, Froman said, made the offense hungry to prove themselves during last night's and today's practices.

"We had two practices yesterday and the offense kind of got beat a little bit by the defense [in the first practice]," Froman told InsideTheVille.com following Friday mornings workout. "We were kind of hanging our heads a little bit and we came out in the second practice and cleaned them up pretty good.

"So our goal as an offense today was to be fired up and get two in a row on the defense. Most of the time in camp it goes back and forth [between offense and defense]. So we're trying as an offense to be more consistent and we did that today."

Though Froman was more pleased with the offenses play Friday morning, he was troubled by his units lack of success on the goal line in the early part of practice.

"We started out a little slow," Froman said. "We started off with goal line period and they stopped us on the goal line four times in a row. That can't ever happen, but it opened our eyes a little bit and we beat them the rest of practice."

Why did the Louisville offense struggle on the goal line given a veteran offensive line and standout running backs Victor Anderson and Bilal Powell?

Frosh defensive end B.J. Butler has opened eyes during fall camp.
"We came out this morning and guys were hopping around, talking and thinking that just because we were loud we were going to go in there and score," Froman said. "But the defense stepped up and stopped us. So after that [our] guys picked up the tempo and intensity and we played a little harder."

Junior linebacker Dexter Heyman had a little different take on the morning's practice session.

"Adam Froman always says the offense gets the better of it," Heyman said. "It was really competitive. It was a back and forth type deal. The offense made some plays toward the end, the defense made them toward the beginning. We're just trying to learn to finish and bounce back from adversity."

Heyman said the team's focus Friday morning was to make continued improvement on both sides of the football.

"We did some goal line at the start of practice and then we opened the field up…later on in practice," Heyman said. "The thing today was just to get better and take another step. That's something we're striving to do and I think we're doing a good job."

What area has Heyman seen the most improvement on defense?

"Definitely our front seven," Heyman said. "If you look back to the spring a lot of the front seven weren't playing fast and physical. That was because we weren't familiar with the scheme. When you know what you're doing you're always able to play faster. I really feel that's where we've made the biggest strides."

Louisville, a team short on experienced depth, will rely heavily on a recruiting class that ranked third in the Big East last year. Froman said he has been impressed how the freshmen have responded so far during Charlie Strong's intense and physical two a day practices.

"I thought they handled it very well as a freshman group," Froman said. "Our practices out here are intense from opening whistle to closing one. Guys are tired, a little dinged up but they took the veterans lead and carried the tempo all the way throughout practice and did a great job."

Froman pointed to wide receivers Josh Bellamy and Michaelee Harris as newcomers that will make impacts on offense.

"Those guys are playmakers, it's in their DNA, that's all they know how to do," Froman said. "As quarterbacks we have absolute confidence in throwing up a jump ball to those guys and letting them go get it. Those guys will make plays and will have a huge impact on our offense this year."

Heyman said he's also been impressed with the play of two highly touted rookies on the defensive side of the football - defensive end B.J. Butler and middle linebacker Preston Brown.

"We've got a couple freshmen stepping up in a major way," said Heyman. "Preston Brown is going to be a huge addition to our defense. He's a 255-pound linebacker who can run and is physical. The sooner he gets his footwork down and learns the defense the better and deeper we'll be. And B.J. Butler has pretty much caught everyone's eye. He's a great player and a great athlete. He's strikingly powerful for a freshman and can make a lot of plays in space."

With Friday morning's practice behind them, the Louisville players are pointing toward Saturday morning's scrimmage, the first since fall practice opened last week. The scrimmage figures to play an important role in determining the race between Froman, Justin Burke and Will Stein for the starting quarterback job in the season opener against Kentucky Sept. 4.

"I'm sure it will be like every practice," Froman said. "Coaches are watching every play. As a quarterback you've got to be tuned in every single play. The scrimmage, game situation, tomorrow I'm sure carries a little extra weight to it. We've got to come in, be extra focused, operate the offense and win a football game."

What will the defense try to show the coaching staff during tomorrow's scrimmage?

"Basically that we have some mental toughness and that they can count on us to do what we‘re supposed to and be in the right place at the right time and make plays," Heyman said. "We just need to go out there and play hard. Everybody's got to be on the same page and do what they're supposed to be doing."

Louisville offers four-game mini ticket package

The University of Louisville Ticket Office announced that 500 four-game ticket packages, which includes the season opener versus Kentucky, will go on sale Sunday to the general public for just $149.00.

The package features the opener for first-year head coach Charlie Strong when the Cardinals take on their arch-rival at the newly-expanded Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The mini-plan, which has tickets available in sections 211-224, also features the Eastern Kentucky game on Sept. 11 and BIG EAST games versus Connecticut and South Florida.

The packages go on-sale to the general public from Noon to 2:30 PM on Sunday, August 15 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in the Brown & Williamson Club during the Football Open House.

Tickets can also be purchased by phone on Monday, August 16 at 9:00 AM. Fans interested in purchasing these mini-plans can call ticket representatives in the U of L Ticket Office at (502) 852-7254, 852-3706, 852-4984 or 852-4983.

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