LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --- The University of Louisville football team held its fourth bowl practice Monday evening inside their Trager Center indoor practice facility, and it marked the first time the Cardinals implemented scout team work since beginning preparations for the Russell Athletic Bowl.
That means UofL is beginning to use its scout team to show the first-team offense and defense what they can expect to see from the Miami Hurricanes December 28th in Orlando.
"First day, today, that we really just focused on Miami. We came out and did a lot of scout work," safety Calvin Pryor said. "We focused on what they do, what kind of personnel they get into, so today's really the first day getting started on Miami."
The Louisville defense is 3rd in the nation in scoring defense, having allowed just 12.4 points per game. Miami is 24th in scoring offense, having put up 35.9 points per game.
"This is probably one of the best offenses I've seen since I've been here," said cornerback Terrell Floyd when asked what's he's seen so far of Miami on tape. "They got a lot of speed, and they like to throw the ball down the field. So, we just gotta try and keep our receivers in front of us."
And for the Cardinals, it took a few days of practice to get back to practicing at a higher level.
"Just crank style, you know. We were kind of rusty. We had a week off from practicing," said Pryor. "We were just trying to get back into the groove of things."
Louisville will again practice Tuesday evening, scheduled to last about 90 minutes.
Pryor's NFL Decision
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the highest profile player that will eventually decide whether to enter the NFL Draft, but there are a handful of juniors on Louisville's roster that must make that same decision - including free safety Calvin Pryor.
"I started thinking about it during the off-season," said Pryor about how much entering the draft has been on his mind. "But there's still a lot of football to be played right now. I'll just take care of that when the season is over."
For what it's worth, NFLDraftScout.com rates Pryor as the #4 free safety in college football. CBSSports.com rates him as the #3 free safety among college juniors, behind Alabama's Hasean Clinton-Dix and Stanford's Ed Reynolds. What round that translates to in the NFL Draft all depends on how many teams need help at safety.
And how's this for what the biggest factor is in that NFL decision?
"The first thing that comes, the only thing that comes right now is my degree," Pryor said. "I really want to come back and get my degree, and that's the only thing that matters right now."
Pryor said he would graduate next spring if he came back. "That's a big factor that's playing into it, but I'm pretty sure everything will work out for the best."
A college degree...that was extremely refreshing to hear from a college football player with a bright NFL future. Mr. Pryor is a mature young man, and a heck of a football player.
Pryor's Big-Hit Ability
Calvin Pryor's best known for being a big-time hitter, having littered the field with the bodies of opposing offensive players who dared come into his area.
"Growing up my dad always told me, 'Nobody's going to go to the ground easy.' So you gotta try and punish them and drive them to the ground. Run through them. Keep your feet moving."
Pryor answered every question about hitting people and big tackles with a big smile on his face. He said tagging receivers trying to run up the seam are his favorite players to rock.
"No I haven't," said Pryor when asked if he's had to adjust his tackling style with targeting penalties for hits above the shoulders resulting in ejections this season in college football. "Coming into this season, they had a big talk about targeting and everything. Coming into practice, we just focused on that. When we hit guys, we make sure we're targeting them in the right place."
Pryor hasn't been called for a single targeting penalty this season but has still punished his share of opposing receivers.