BOZICH/CRAWFORD: Quick out; Louisville likely to start 3 freshme - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH/CRAWFORD: Quick out; Louisville likely to start 3 freshmen vs. Houston

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James Quick is unlikely to play against Houston Saturday with a foot injury. (Photo by Mike DeZarn for WDRB.) James Quick is unlikely to play against Houston Saturday with a foot injury. (Photo by Mike DeZarn for WDRB.)

By Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) – Despite a season-opening loss to Auburn and several injuries, Louisville figures to be a double-digit favorite against Houston Saturday. The Cardinals and Cougars play at noon at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Cards were listed as a 12-point favorite Monday afternoon.

An update from the Cardinals’ injury list and depth chart, following coach Bobby Petrino’s media session Monday:

*James Quick was listed as a starting receiver on the U of L press notes, but Petrino said that he did not believe Quick would play Saturday. Quick suffered a foot injury in the first half against Auburn. Petrino said the injury was not to Quick’s Achilles’ tendon.

“I’m not real encouraged,” Petrino said. “I guess the encouraging thing is it’s not an Achilles. That was one of the thoughts, that it might be to where he said the pain was. It’s not Achilles. But it is a severely sprained ankle.

“I don’t know the amount of time that he’ll miss. There has been some improvement in the last hours. He’s still in a lot of pain.

“I would doubt he’d be ready this weekend … It’s just a shame. It was kind of away from the play. Just a really weird deal. He kind of stopped and the guy fell on top of him. His ankle went under.”

If Quick does not play, Charles Standberry, a sophomore, is listed as his top back up.

Receiver Jamari Staples is not listed on the depth chart. He missed the Auburn game with an injury and was seen on crutches.

*Quarterback Lamar Jackson is not the only Cardinals’ freshman projected to start against the Cougars. Geron Christian, the left offensive tackle, and receiver Jaylen Smith, are also listed on the first team.

Petrino had special praise for Christian, the younger brother of former U of L tight end Gerald Christian. The coach said Christian played well as the starter against Auburn.

“It’s not kind of throwing him in there,” Petrino said. “We put him at the toughest position on the offensive line and he held his own. That’s a guy that’s usually one-on-one on the edge rusher. And he held his own. Did a good job …

“Took some punches and stood in there and fought. Did a decent job run blocking. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I think he’s going to be a really, really good player before it’s over with.”

Christian is 6 feet 6 and 330 pounds. Rivals.com ranked him as a three-star recruit and said Christian also had scholarship offers from Arkansas, Miami, Texas and Mississippi State.

Smith was ranked a 2-star recruit by Rivals.com. He played at Pascagoula (Miss.) High School, the same school that produced Terrell Buckley, Louisville’s secondary coach. Smith caught three passes for 34 yards against Auburn.

Smith also had offers from Cincinnati, Nebraska and Ole Miss. Smith and Jackson are roommates.

*Petrino said that junior quarterback Will Gardner suffered a cartilage injury near his ribs during practice and was not available to play against Auburn. The quarterbacks are ranked this way on the depth chart: Jackson, Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin and Gardner.

“Will was never really an option for the (Auburn) game,” Petrino said.

*Houston has won four of its last five games, starting this season with 52-24 home win over Tennessee Tech. The Cougars also closed last season strong, beating Tulsa, SMU and Pittsburgh. Their only loss during that stretch was 38-31 at Cincinnati.

Junior QB Greg Ward Jr. is a dual-threat quarterback, having run for 107 yards and passed for 275 in Saturday’s opener. He started his career at Houston at quarterback, then moved to receiver and returned punts, before moving back to the QB spot in the fifth game of last season. 

“Houston is a good football team,” Petrino said. “They’ve got some speed on offense, they have speed on defense, their linebackers can really run, and they’ve got a lot of experience. So it’s going to be a great challenge for us. We have to do a good job of getting ready for Saturday.” 

Ward ranks ninth in the nation in total offense. Ward produced a 400-yard game against Cincinnati last season, passing for 360 yards and running for another 40. Ward was 4 for 6 passing on third down on Saturday, completing five passes of 15 yards or more. He also ran for at least 10 yards five times.

*The game will be televised by Fox Sports. Tom Werme will handle play by play with Ovie Mughelli the analyst and Niki Noto working the sidelines.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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