BOZICH | Who's Ahead: the Louisville Offense or Defense? A Debate
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Statistics were not distributed following the University of Louisville’s scrimmage at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Saturday.
No announcements were made on the Cardinals’ starting quarterback or the first-teamer at any position. (Thanks again for your suggestion, Eric Crawford.) In fact, the names of the quarterbacks were never mentioned during nearly 19 minutes of post-scrimmage interviews.
Unlike last week when Louisville went 175 plays, this time U of L played four 15-minute quarters. Usually it was the first team versus second – with coaches on the sidelines, not the field as they were a week ago.
Other that that, any conclusions from the scrimmage had to be formed by sorting through what coach Bobby Petrino, receiver James Quick and linebacker Keith Kelsey said after practice.
Here are Five Things I Think I Learned About The Cards:
1. The Offense is Ahead of the Defense
This is Quick’s third August camp as a Cardinal. Petrino complimented his play Saturday. Quick said he has worked at becoming a leader and believes that he has succeeded.
So I asked him: Which unit had the upper hand, the offense or defense?
“Offense,” Quick said. “Always.”
2. No, the Defense is Ahead of the Offense
This is also Kelsey’s third camp as a Cardinal. He is the team’s top returning tackler, a leader in the front seven. Petrino complimented the linebackers because the coach said they understand what the coaching staff expects.
So I asked Kelsey the same question I asked Quick.
“I wasn’t going to really comment on that,” he said, with a smile. “I’m going to just leave that alone. We know what happens on the field.”
3. No, Actually the Offense and Defense are Even
Actually, Quick also praised the defense, saying the tenacity of Louisville’s defenders has helped the Cardinals’ offense improve. Quick gave considerable praise to U of L cornerback Shaq Wiggins, a transfer from Georgia. Quick believes that Wiggins is terrific.
“Because he’s small and he’s just there all the time,” Quick said. “I call Shaq, ‘The Ghost,’ because he’s always behind me and he’s always just going to knock the ball down when you don’t know he’s there …
“Me and Shaq we go at it every day. Shaq’s a great player but he makes me better.”
Kelsey, for the record, is just as impressed by the Louisville offense.
“I think we go both ways,” Kelsey said. “We have a lot of explosive players on offense as well – (halfback) Brandon Radcliff, James Quick. There’s a lot of guys over there. Our defense is good, too. We just feed off each other.”
Petrino, for the record, primarily praised both units. Although to be precise, the coach did say this:
“Defense made a lot of really good plays. Offense made some plays. I thought it was a pretty even scrimmage.”
So, if you’re scoring at home, the defense earned “a lot of really good,” but the offense did not.
4. Petrino Likes His Receivers
If Petrino, Quick and Kelsey did not mention the names of quarterbacks Will Gardner, Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin or Lamar Jackson, the coach did praise his receivers by name.
“One of the things that was really nice to see that we hadn’t had a lot in camp was our receivers making plays, breaking tackles, making long runs, jumping in the air, making great catches,” Petrino said. “That to me is one of the things that can really get contagious as well as drops can.
“We want to get rid of the drops and that it gets contagious that everybody makes plays. This is really the first day of camp that you saw that from a number of guys. Five or six guys made great plays out there from the receiver position.
“Quick made some really nice plays. I think we’re doing a good job of finding out how to use him and his abilities. He’s in great condition, so he can go every play, almost. He did have to come out a couple of times.
“Ja’Quay (Savage, transfer from Texas A&M) made some plays. Jamari Staples (transfer from UAB) made some plays. And the young guys did. (Devante) Peete got in there, Jaylen Smith and Emonee Spence. That group of guys all showed up, making some really nice either catches or runs after the catch, which was great to see.”
5. Kelsey Agrees With James Burgess
Burgess, another starting linebacker, has said several times this month that he is convinced the 2015 U of L defense will be better than the 2014 edition, even though the Cards are replacing six starters who made their way into NFL training camps.
Kelsey endorses that concept.
“I feel like our defense can be a lot better than last year,” he said. “We have a lot of big pieces that filled in, like (safety) Josh Harvey-Clemons, he’s a 6-4 safety who can cover the field and tackle.
“We’ve got (linebacker) Keith Brown. He’s fast off the edge. We’ve got (TCU transfer) DeVonte Fields, who just added in. That’s a lot of pieces that came in to help us.”
Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.