CRAWFORD | Louisville football logs first day of practice, Petri - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville football logs first day of practice, Petrino gives first impressions

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Photo via @UofLFootball Twitter account. Photo via @UofLFootball Twitter account.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The first day of practice is in the books for the University of Louisville football team, and if you’re looking for answers to many of the questions facing coaches as they head into the 2015 season, well, come back later.

“It’s the first day,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said to one of the first questions asked by reporters after the second of today’s workouts in the Trager Indoor Practice Facility on campus.

Petrino and his staff worked out the younger players in the morning, then had the veterans on the field during a humid afternoon workout. Nerves marked the morning session.

“There is some anxiety particularly with the young group of guys,” Petrino said. “When you split the team like this they have to take more reps, so obviously it was hard on them today, which is good. The young guys this morning, they were hyperventilating before the stretch was over. So after we got through individuals and figured it out and then they came back and did better. But the first 15 minutes, because of the anxiety, their conditioning was gone. But once they settled down they did okay. We need to be a well-conditioned team. Most of our games are going to be won or lost in the fourth quarter. So it’s real important for us to develop depth and be in great condition.”

Some quick takeaways from Day 1:

PETRINO WANTS MORE. Yes, his offense is young. Yes, as he said, “Without shoulder pads on the defense always has the upper hand.” But he also is going to be demanding more consistency on offense throughout practice.

“I didn’t like the fact that some of our guys didn’t play as hard as they should,” he said. “They got tired. That’ll help us in the long run, but the biggest thing you’ve got to go make plays in the fourth quarter when you’re tired. So we’ve got some work to do there.”

DON’T EXPECT A QUICK ANSWER AT QUARTERBACK. There aren’t many conclusions to be drawn after a single day with freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson or transfer Tyler Ferguson who worked this morning. Petrino was able to take a bit more critical look at returnees Reggie Bonnafaon, Will Gardner and Kyle Bolin, who worked during the afternoon.

“All three quarterbacks took a lot of reps,” Petrino said. “We’ve got to watch the video and grade it out to see where they’re at. I thought they all showed some good signs and they all had some plays where you would like to see them do better, particularly being accurate with the ball. Overall it was a good opening day.”

OFFENSIVE LINE GETS TO WORK. Petrino worked his main offensive line group against the No. 2 defense, just to get a look at who looked sharp from a standpoint of technique. He said he didn’t want to appraise anyone’s performance without breaking the video down but noted, “We did a pretty good job of pass protection. They’re guys (as a group) who are really eager to learn. I came out of the building the other day and Geron (Christian) and (freshman) Kenny (Thomas) both had their playbooks and were on the steps studying. So I think they’re really going to learn and they’re really talented. We’ll just have to see how quickly they can get ready.”

Petrino said freshman offensive lineman Chandler Jones joined the team on Thursday and went through some individual workouts but didn’t take part in drills.

WHAT’S NEXT? Petrino and his coaches will spend the early evening breaking down film of the day’s practices. The program’s video staff will have the practices cut up and indexed on laptops for quick reference. Tonight, coaches will conduct a short meeting with players before heading out to the main field at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, where Petrino will lead a situation walk-through.

“It’s great for us, because instead of sitting in the meeting room or looking at video on the board, you can get out there and walk through it and experience it,” Petrino said. “You can learn defense or some of the things the defense is doing. And our defense can work on different formations or down and distance.”

2018 OPENER AGAINST ALABAMA IS OFFICIAL: ESPN broke the news late last week but the official announcement came Thursday, Louisville will open the 2018 season against Alabama in the Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium.

The programs will be meeting for just the fourth time. Alabama holds a 2-1 series edge, but U of L won the last meeting — a 34-7 win in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl.

“Kicking off the 2018 season with a great opponent like Alabama is a tremendous way to start the season,” Louisville Athletics Director Tom Jurich said. “We continually want to play highly respected opponents each year, and adding a traditional power like Alabama in the opener will certainly be an outstanding challenge. We have a vision to be the best we can be, and to do that, we have to play the best. We are also thrilled to be headed back to a destination city like Orlando. I know our fan base will respond for this tremendous match-up.” 

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