LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Louisville Cardinal football players may understand the Notre Dame mystique, but they may not understand the atmosphere they'll face in South Bend on Saturday.
The U of L coaching staff is trying to remedy that by having the team practice indoors at the Trager Center with pumped-in crowd noise to simulate what the players will face.
“We expect it to be very loud in there,” said Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee. “That's a part of the preparation; you have to have a plan for the crowd noise.”
McGee is preparing true freshman Reggie Bonnafon to start in the place of the injured Will Gardner. Bonnafon indicated it was still surreal for him to think about starting for the Louisville Cardinals, not to mention taking snaps at Notre Dame Stadium.
“It's going to be a little weird for me, “said Bonnafon. “I try not to think about things like that,” he said with a smile.
Sophomore safety Gerod Holliman insisted they treat every opponent equally, even though playing at Florida International, for instance, is not the same as playing at Notre Dame. Holliman won't back down from his assertion that they're all equal.
“No, we see every game as the same. Every game is big to us,” he said.
The humble Holliman is in elite territory. His 13 interceptions lead the country and he's one pick away from tying a national record that has stood since 1968.
“Anytime you get close to something like that, it's pretty neat,” said U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. “I think it is a credit to what he has done this year.”
A win at Notre Dame Saturday would not just be historic, but also play into the immediate future for the Cardinals. U of L is 7-3 and will wrap up the season at home against a struggling Kentucky team. Two wins and a little help from other ACC teams could put the Cardinals in a much better bowl than they are currently projected to be playing in after the regular season.
First things first…and that's a meeting with the Fighting Irish Saturday. Kickoff scheduled for 3:30pm in South Bend.