ANDRESS | Louisville Monday practice - "Co-starters" at RB, kicker's neon cleats don't match
LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- Louisville running backs and specialists coach Kenny Carter spoke to the media after Monday's practice, as well as kicker John Wallace. Here's the latest, with 13 days to go before the season opener against Ohio.
"Co-starters" at RB - The UofL pre-camp depth chart listed co-starters at the running back position, and Carter said Monday that's exactly what it will be again. Last year that meant two primary ball carriers. After Saturday's scrimmage, Teddy Bridgewater used words like "phenomenal" and "exceptional" to describe Dominique Brown's performance in the backfield during camp, including Brown being very good at pass protection.
"There's going to be not one starter. There's going to be co-starters," said Carter after Monday's practice. "(Brown) had a good practice, but the other guys have too. I'm real pleased with all of them."
It's obvious this will be a running back by committee, but if Brown is performing as well as Bridgewater said, he's likely going to be one of those co-starters. That would leave Senorise Perry (listed with Brown on pre-camp depth chart as co-starter), Michael Dyer, Corvin Lamb, and Brandon Radcliff competing for the rest of the lion's share of the carries. Personally, I'd be surprised if Radcliff is in the mix, at this point.
Senorise Perry has had a fast recovery from tearing his ACL last year and is participating more in camp than originally expected, but he was still held out of Saturday's full tackle scrimmage. At some point, he'll have to prove he's healthy enough for full contact. If Perry can do that in the next two weeks, he should resume his role as a co-starter week one, after a strong 2012 season.
If Perry is not cleared for full contact by the season opener, the opportunity to co-start likely falls to Corvin Lamb or Michael Dyer. It's not a big sample size, but Corvin Lamb has ripped off big runs in the three open practices. Those practices weren't in full pads though.
UofL's defensive players have all said Dyer is a very tough guy to tackle with a low center of gravity and a fierce downhill running style. As Perry has two weeks to show his knee is ready for full contact, Dyer has two weeks to show he has a large enough grasp of the playbook and system to be trusted week one in an offense where Teddy Bridgewater makes plenty of pre-snap adjustments. Dyer came to Louisville in shape, but a month to learn the offense is asking a lot of a player who hasn't played in more than a year.
Injury update - Charlie Strong said Sunday right guard Kamran Joyer has been getting evaluated by team doctors each day and had missed the last 3-4 days of practice. As players left the practice field Monday, Joyer was still not in pads, as he limped off the field holding a knee brace. That makes 4-5 days without practice.
Chris Acosta has been getting the first team reps at right guard with Joyer out, and everyday Joyer is not active is another day closer to Acosta taking his starting spot (if he hasn't already).
John Wallace's bright cleats - Kickers are a different breed of football player, and UofL kicker John Wallace is unique in one particular way from the rest of his teammates - his cleats don't match...his neon cleats.
Wallace wears a neon yellow soccer cleat on his right kicking foot and a neon orange soccer cleat on his left plant foot.
"Last year, my plant foot ripped out in the Southern Miss game. My cleat just ripped out, so I've been trying to find the left cleat to match this (yellow) one, because I like this one," said Wallace.
It should be noted that there was a monsoon at Southern Miss last year. Players could have worn six-inch spikes. I'm not sure if anybody's cleats worked well, when it came to planting in the "Sports Exe Momentum Turf" at M.M. Roberts Stadium that day.
But that right yellow cleat was pretty good to Wallace in 2012, going 16-21 on field goal attempts and a perfect 14-14 on field goal tries inside 40 yards. 16 field goals were the 2nd most in program history. I suppose if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Wallace's range - Wallace said after practice Monday his range for an end of half field goal is 57-58 yards "with good weather conditions". With the game on the line, that might be a stretch though for the redshirt sophomore from Central Hardin HS.
In Sunday's two-minute drill portion of practice that was open to fans and the media at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Wallace needed a favorable bounce off the crossbar to make a 48-yard field goal, and he went just 2-6 in 2012 on field goal attempts from 40-49 yards, missing his lone attempt from 50+ yards. Kenny Carter has confidence in him though.
"I think John Wallace is one of the better kickers in the country," said Carter. "He had a 50-yarder, 49-yarder in practice yesterday. Shoot, the 50-yarder was probably good for 60."
Regardless of his range, Wallace made two clutch kicks last season. His 30-yarder won the game for Louisville in overtime against Cincinnati, and a 29-yarder at Rutgers with 1:41 to go put the Cardinals up for good and into a BCS Bowl game.
Those are the kinds of kicks you can't practice.