CRAWFORD | U of L fan day: No autographs, lots of anticipation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | U of L fan day: No autographs, lots of anticipation

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No autographs, but Teddy Bridgewater did half a lap around the stadium to high five fans after practice Sunday. No autographs, but Teddy Bridgewater did half a lap around the stadium to high five fans after practice Sunday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There were two things you couldn't do at the University of Louisville football fan day. Actually, hang on. There were three.

1. Get player autographs.

2. Hit or tackle (players were in shoulder pads only).

3. Shoot video after the 10-minute mark of scrimmage (if you were media).

Still, it was a look, a last look, at the No. 9 ranked Cardinals two weeks before opening the most anticipated season in their history at home against Ohio University.

There wasn't much to be learned from the workout. Afterward, Charlie Strong was apologetic for the autograph situation and said it would be revisited going forward. U of L bagged the annual autograph event amid a controversy that could sideline Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The same autograph broker selling hundreds of Manziel items has been found with a much smaller number from Cardinals quarterback Bridgewater, South Carolina's Jadaveon Clowney and others.

"I know we didn't have an autograph session and I feel bad about it, especially for the young people," Strong said. ". . . We'll readdress it and see exactly where we are."

But on the field, the evaluations are largely finished. Strong has his first-team defense and offense. There are a few injury issues. Wideout Damien Copeland didn't practice, but Strong said he is day-to-day, as is cornerback Terrell Floyd, who Strong said has had the best camp of any of his defensive backs.

Right guard Kamran Joyer is out, but his backup, Chris Acosta, has been solid.

It was more a day for coaches to tinker. Trinity product James Quick, a freshman wideout, saw some reps with the first unit, and Michaelee Harris, the team's leading receiver in 2011, saw his most extensive action of camp, though Strong says he's not ready for a full return.

Even with the vanilla packages he ran Sunday, it was evident offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has a number of weapons to turn to. The Cardinals have a receiving corps capable of stretching the field and a quarterback defenses must respect, which leaves running backs able to catch the ball in space underneath. Corvin Lamb, Dominique Brown and transfer Michael Dyer all had big running room off short catches.

Defensively, conclusions aren't fair. If you can't hit, you can't really defend. But Strong was pleased with his defense in Saturday's real scrimmage.

Sunday's event was a makeshift deal, thrown together after the autograph session was canceled. It wasn't the kind of thing Strong likes to do.

"I don't really like coming into the stadium (except on gamedays)," Strong said. "We want it to be special when we come in here, all business. . . . But it is good getting used to the surface (new turf was laid in the offseason)."

The next time the Cards take the field, it'll be for real.

"The fans are excited, just like our team," Strong said. "Two weeks from today, we'll tee it off and see what kind of team we have."

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