BOZICH | Petrino on shopping malls, A&M quarterbacks, NFL early - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Petrino on shopping malls, A&M quarterbacks, NFL early entry and more

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Bobby Petrino will take the Louisville football team to Nashville on  Christmas night. Bobby Petrino will take the Louisville football team to Nashville on Christmas night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino was happy to escape the shopping malls for his final media conference in town before the Cardinals depart for the Music City Bowl. They will ride a bus to Nashville on Christmas night.

Give Petrino credit. He admitted that he preferred to find gaps in the Texas A&M defense to finding gaps in mall traffic.

“I was walking around in a mall last night and I’ll you what, I’m not sure meetings aren’t more fun than that,” he said.

“I’m really not sure they’re not more fun than that. My wife appreciated it, I can tell you that.”

U of L will play Texas A&M Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. in Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans.

A look at the five most interesting things Petrino said eight days before kickoff:

What is at stake in the game against the Aggies (8-4), who finished tied for fifth in the West Division of the Southeastern Conference?

PETRINO: “I think I'll always consider a bowl game as, No. 1, finishing your season, finishing it for the seniors and No. 2 is being the start of next season. When the early rankings or whatever come out, it's always really about who do you have coming back and how did you finish the year?

“So I think if we can finish strong, then it's great for our seniors, great for the guys that are leaving and it's good for us coming back to next year's season.”

Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray, the top two quarterbacks at A&M, have both left the team. Jake Hubenak will start.

Who?

Hubenak completed 12 of 27 throws this season for one touchdown. He ran four times. He did not gain a yard.

How does the A&M uncertainty at QB affect Louisville?

PETRINO: “You know, coach (Kevin) Sumlin has always done a great job with the offense and certain concepts and beliefs he has that we've seen carry over for a long, long time.

“But each quarterback he had in there had a little bit different personality, so we don't have a lot of reps from him. I think there's 27 snaps throwing the football, but we have to just prepare ourselves to go out and play well within the concepts and then adjust if there's something new that we haven't seen.

“You always have to do that mostly in every game as you get something different you haven't seen and more so in a bowl game because they have a longer period of time to put other stuff in.”

Lamar Jackson will start at quarterback for Louisville. Petrino and the assistant coaches have been working with Jackson operating under center as well as from the shotgun.

What is the difference for a young QB like Jackson taking snaps under center?

PETRINO: “I think it will help the run game, help the play action game. The good thing about Lamar is there's never been an issue with him taking snaps under center, so we really don't have to worry about that, which I've had quarterbacks before that it has been an issue with before.

“But with him it's just being at the right landmark to hand the ball off or being at the right spot off play action. So this extended period of time has really helped us with that. We took one day where we had everything, every snap was under center, whether it was drop-back, whatever it was.

“And it's really helped. It will help our run game to be at the right mesh point and having our running backs where they need to be.”

According to the wise guys in Las Vegas, the quarterback situation at A&M has helped change the outlook on the game. Louisville has shifted from a 2 1/2-point underdog to a 5-point favorite.

PETRINO: “It’s the first time I knew it. I don’t ever look at it. I don’t ever look it. I really don’t care. I don’t even know if our players do. It’s something that in the coaching profession anywhere I’ve ever worked, you don’t ever talk about it. You just get ready to play the game.”

How many Louisville underclassmen have asked the NFL for an evaluation of their status for the 2016 draft?

PETRINO: “We had four guys send in their papers. It was Keith Kelsey (a linebacker), DeAngelo Brown (defensive line), Josh Harvey-Clemons (safety) and DeVonte Fields (a linebacker). We should get that, what the NFL says about their draft status.

“It’s still part of the process. We’ve had a few that filled out their papers and sent them in and get the evaluation back. Then they have to sit down and make a decision. We’re at the (point in) the process where we should be getting the evaluations back. Then I’ll sit down and talk to them and tell them what the NFL said. Then they have decisions to make.”

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