BOZICH | Seven Takeaways From Louisville's 175-Play Football Scr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Seven Takeaways From Louisville's 175-Play Football Scrimmage

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Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is not ready to name his starting quarterback. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is not ready to name his starting quarterback.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville football team scrimmaged for 175 plays at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Saturday morning – and that still wasn’t enough for coach Bobby Petrino to announce his starting quarterback for the Auburn game on Sept. 5.

But Petrino and four players did share enough information for Seven Takeaways from the Cards’ Scrimmage:

1. Petrino Is Pleased by the Cardinals’ Progress

“I liked what I saw in the scrimmage today,” he said. “Obviously I think we’ve improved a lot in one week.

“Our offensive line is coming together. We’re still working a number of combinations, so we’ve got some work to figure out exactly who will end up being with the ones. But there have been some guys who have distinguished themselves and that’s good to see.

“It was the kind of scrimmage where it was about throwing the ball. I didn’t even try to run it too much.

“All in all, I’ve been happy with the first week … I’ve been happy with our progress but we’ve got a long way to go.”

2. Sorry, Gus Malzahn. Not A Peep on Cards’ QB

Louisville brought three quarterbacks to the post-scrimmage interview session. Will Gardner, Reggie Bonnafon and Kyle Bolin. They talked in that order, and media members were advised not to draw any conclusions from that tidbit. Remember that when you read this story down at Auburn, Coach Malzahn.

“We’re in no hurry to make any decisions there,” Petrino said.

“One guy one day completes 75 percent of his passes in practice and the other guy has a little off day. It’s kind of been back and forth. They’re certainly competing hard.

“As far as the quarterbacks go, I felt like they did some really good things. They looked comfortable at times. And then they made some mistakes. We’ve got to get rid of the mistakes and get them to stay in a rhythm and distribute the football.

“We’ve still got some work to do.”

3. Even With the Departure of Six Starters, Petrino Loves His Defense

“Defensively I feel like we’re going to be a good team,” Petrino said. “We can really rush the passer. (Sheldon) Rankins and Pio (Vatuvei) inside are very good against the run, which allows us to free our linebackers up and we know those linebackers are real good players.

“The secondary still has to come around. Josh Harvey-Clemons is doing a real nice job for us. Shaq (Wiggins, a cornerback) is doing a good job. I think that the corners are competing. We have a lot of competition there to see who the starters will be.”

4. Harvey-Clemons Says the U of L Defense is SEC quality.

Harvey-Clemons, a free safety, starred at Georgia before he transferred to Louisville after the 2013 season. He knows the speed and confidence that a top SEC defense must deliver – and he has seen those qualities at Louisville.

“(The defense) can be really good as you seen today,” Harvey-Clemons said. “You’ve got a lot of guys flying around. We’ve got a lot of guys who know what to do and are playing fast right now.

“I feel like we can compete with any defense as far as talent wise. I feel like we have the right tools in place. We have a strong D line. We have great linebackers. We have a good secondary. I feel like we can compete with any defense, SEC or not.”

5. TCU transfer DeVonte Fields Showed His All-Big 12 Talent

Fields has only worked with the team for one week, but he is already showing the ability that make him the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 three seasons ago. Fields looks like a strong candidate to ease into Lorenzo Mauldin's spot as a linebacker who can also pressure the quarterback.

“He had a good day today,” Petrino said. “Coach (Todd) Grantham is going a nice job with him understanding he’s not in the same physical shape as everybody else on our team. So he gets him in for some reps and he gets him out to rest. He’s managing it so he doesn’t get overly sore but he is really sore.

“But he’s a guy who knows how to play football. He knows how to play the game of football.

“He’s got a great lower body. He can really bend. I thought today I noticed … he stood out in having knowledge of what the offense was trying to do and being able to make plays. That kind of jumped out without watching the film. It seemed like he knows a lot about the game of football.”

6. Petrino Likes The Young Talent on the Offensive Line

With three starters from the 2015 team in NFL training camps, Louisville will have to rebuild its offensive line. The Cards have more depth but less experience than last season.

"Pedro (Sibiea) has been doing a good job,” he said. “I like what I see from Kiola (Mahoni, a junior-college transfer from San Mateo Community College). He’s a very powerful guy. He comes off the ball quickly. He’s got to learn the offense. His mistakes end up being not having enough knowledge of what we’re doing just yet.

“Both young freshmen a really talented. They’re doing a good job, Kenny Thomas and Geron Christian.

“They took a lot of reps today. I was hard on them today. That’s how we wanted it to be to see how they play when they’re tired. I think that’s the biggest thing our players understand is in the fourth quarter are you still going to be able to do what you’re coached to do, play with great effort?”

7. The Receivers Remain A Work In Progress

Receiver is another area where Louisville is looking for players. James Quick, a junior, is the only returning receiver who caught more than 10 passes last season.

“We’re a little bit banged up,” Petrino said. “Ja’Quay (Savage) was out there doing some work today. (UAB transfer Jamari) Staples should be back early next week. Alphonso Carter (a junior-college transfer) has not been out there yet.

“It is what it is. In the game of football, everybody has to understand that when I get my opportunity, I’ve got to step up and go and be ready to go. We’ve just got to keep moving offensively. That’s why we do so many reps in practice.

“Devante Peete (a freshman) had a good day today. Jaylen Smith (another freshman) has had some good days out there catching the ball. The size of those guys and their hand strength really helps them. We’ll get them ready to play. I would anticipate them playing.”

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