LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was a fun, eventful Tuesday morning practice for Louisville football, as the Cardinals celebrated both the end of two-a-day practices and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford's 55th birthday.
The players were rewarded after practice with freezer pops.
"They're just so excited to get anything right now," said head coach Charlie Strong after the tasty surprise. "They're just so beat up and so tired."
Apparently, Bedford was given an equally cold and refreshing surprise gift for his birthday from his players on defense.
"We're planning on dumping him in the cold tank," junior defensive end Deiontrez Mount said as he laughed hysterically. "He's going to make us do extra sprints, but it's worth it. Is it not?"
Strong didn't realize it was Bedford's birthday. He said Bedford doesn't tell anyone, but he'd get him a cake. Apparently, Strong wasn't in on the master plan to get Bedford in the cold tub. We'll report back on whether the mission was a success. Lord knows if it was, Bedford will be firing on all cylinders the next time he talks to the media.
After practice, the team walked from the outdoor practice field to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, to meet up with the marching band. Each player was handed a piece of paper with the lyrics to the Louisville fight song and alma mater and instructed by the band director on the proper time and place during each song to throw up the "L" with their hands. Some players were more into it than others, but there's always a reason when coaches add something like this to the agenda.
"What we sometimes forget is just how hard other people work," said Strong after the exercise. "We just wanted to make sure that we let (the marching band) know we support them, just like they support us. It gave our players a chance to learn the alma mater."
In case you don't know the UofL alma mater, here it is: click here
Defensive Ends Want to Play Fast
That's what Lorenzo Mauldin said was the biggest issue last season. The defensive ends were playing too slow. He's so confident about playing faster this season, Mauldin said he's gunning for Elvis Dumervil's school record of 20 ½ sacks, set in 2005.
"A couple people have been saying this is the biggest they've seen the UofL defensive line," said Mauldin, who had 4 ½ sacks last year in 11 games. "(Defensive line) coach (Clint) Hurtt has stressed on us about our feet and our hands. We've gotten quicker with our feet. We've gotten better with our hands."
"We didn't feel like we did too good last year. We kind of let down our fans," said Deiontrez Mount, who had 2 ½ sacks last year playing in all 13 games. "Just running to the ball more, being more aggressive, trying to get to the quarterback, staying in our gaps. We're just going to be more gap sound defense and more of a strong front."
The Cardinals were tied for 78th in the country with 1.69 sacks per game and 48th in rushing defense, allowing 148 yards per game on the ground.
CB Terell Floyd - Floyd did not practice again Tuesday and was on crutches with his left foot in a walking boot, as he left the practice field. However, Strong said he is not in danger of missing the season opener against Ohio. "No, he's not in danger at all. What it is, we're just trying to protect his foot, just keep him off the foot, because it had swollen up a little on him. We're just making sure we can keep the swelling down."
WR Damian Copeland - Per Strong, Copeland was a limited participant in practice Tuesday, only taking part in individual drills. He appeared to have a soft knee brace that he had taken off draped around his left ankle after practice.
RG Kamran Joyer - Joyer was again not in pads leaving the practice field Tuesday. More 1st team reps for Chris Acosta, who has to be the leader in the clubhouse, at this point, to start against Ohio. It's been almost a week of no practice now for Joyer.
DE Marcus Smith - Strong said Smith will be ready against Ohio.
WR Michaelee Harris - Harris practiced Sunday at fan day, and Strong confirmed Tuesday he will be available week one (although I can't imagine he'll see much time, if any, with the depth at WR). Harris suffered another injury August 8th.
Sam LB Keith Brown - Brown's injury is unknown, but it is severe enough for Strong to already rule him out against Ohio. He said so after practice Tuesday. That's not a surprise, and he's likely out for more games than that. George Durant has filled in nicely in his place.
Editorial note - Charlie Strong has been criticized my media in town in the past for often not making himself available, with the exception of weekly and post-game news conferences. Tuesday marked the third time in four days he spoke with media after practice. It was much appreciated and hasn't gone unnoticed.
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