CRAWFORD & BOZICH | Top five quotes from Petrino's pre-Charlotte - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD & BOZICH | Top five quotes from Petrino's pre-Charlotte news conference

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Game week, at long last, has arrived for the University of Louisville football program, and it’s a short week at that.

The Cardinals will open the season against Charlotte at 7 p.m. in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, and they’ll open as 39.5-point favorites, though many don’t believe the score will be that close.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino has appeared confident, loose and in a pretty good mood in this preseason, but Cardinals’ players warn not to let his demeanor with the media fool you.

“Coach P is pretty consistent,” offensive lineman Tobijah Hughley said. “He knows how he wants his football team to be. He’s pretty intense.”

Petrino spoke with the media on Monday to preview the opener against Charlotte. Here are his five most notable quotes:

1). “That’s the worst feeling I ever had. Let’s never do that again.” Petrino here was referring to an instance last season when, unsure of his offense, he decided to defer on the coin toss.

“You probably don’t even know how hard it was to walk in the locker room,” Petrino said when asked if he would be taking the ball at every opportunity this season. “Every year I’ve ever been the head coach, I have one person in the locker room that I’ll come up to and say, if we win the toss, take the ball, if they defer, take the ball, if we have to kick, we’ll defend this goal. There was a time last year when I had to walk in and say, if we win the toss, we’ll defer. That’s the worst feeling I ever had. Let’s never do that again.”

2). “I learned a long, long time ago, there’s no reason to get into any of that. There’s no reason to get hit or knocked down.” One way Petrino said he knows that the team is ready to play a game is that more scuffles begin to break out in practice between players.

“You get tired,” he said. “You’re working hard and you get tired of going against the same guy every day in practice. And once in a while we get a little testy about it. We’ve had a couple of guys who would have been out of the game and out of the first half of the next game. You kind of let it play out, and see it, as a coach. I learned a long, long time ago, there’s no reason to get into any of that. There’s no reason to get hit or knocked down. You just use it as a teaching moment on what would have happened if it was a game.”

3). “Don’t get all caught up in Rocco’s depth chart.” Petrino said this after a question about the starting lineup, referring to football sports information director Rocco Gasparro.

Petrino said Gasparro approached him a few days ago asking for a new depth chart. Petrino is no fan of depth charts, but pieced one together, saying, “We’ve got to give them something to write about.”

One surprise on the chart was the presence of Stacy Thomas at starting inside linebacker. The junior from Miami was sidelined by a non-football related condition on August 6.

“He’s recovered,” Petrino said. “He’s been out there and going full speed. . . . Stacy is recovered. He’s been out there, he’s had contact. He’s looked good, sharp, he’s a very, very good football player.”

As for the depth chart, Petrino said he wanted to see the team practice more for a day or two before actually committing to some of the slots.”

“Don’t get all caught up in Rocco’s depth chart,” he said. “We still practice today, we still practice tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got guys that we have to see that they’re full speed ready to go.”

4). “Now it’s time to cut it loose.” Petrino acknowledged that the coaching staff and players have far more familiarity with each other right now than in the prior two seasons, and that the players have a better understanding of Petrino’s system. Because of that, he thinks his team is ready to play faster, with more confidence, than it has.

“No question about it,” he said. “We know our players. They know the schemes that we’re running. And now it’s time to cut it loose and go use your technique within the schemes and execute at a fast tempo.”

5). “I feel if we get it to the 32, 31, we’ve got a chance to get three points on the board.” Petrino here is talking about the kicking situation, where he has sophomore Evan O’Hara at the top of the depth chart at place kicker and Mason King, a redshirt freshman out of Louisville St. Xavier, as the punter.

“If we were going right now, if we were walking out there right now and kicking, that’s how it would be,” Petrino said. “Mason has had a very good camp. His times on getting the ball out are very, very good. His hang time and his distance has been consistent. I’m proud of the way he worked at it and how much more he’s improved from spring. Austin Johnson’s a really good punter. He’s going to be a very good punter. He’s a two step guy that has the ability to have great hang time and distance. But Mason got the edge in this battle so he’ll get the nod.”

At place kicker, Petrino has been looking at O’Hara and redshirt freshman Blanton Creque out of Collins High School in Simpsonville.

Petrino said O’Hara had the slight edge for “his consistency, his ability to get the ball up high. It gives the range that right now you feel like if we get the ball around the 32, 31 yard line, we’ve got a chance to get three points on the board. We’ve had years where it’s been the 26 or the 27. But I feel if we get it to the 31, we’ve got a chance to get three points on the board.”

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