CRAWFORD | Petrino welcomes GameDay hype for Florida State - but tells players to ignore it
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said he credited his players for working hard to be in a position to play in a high profile game like Saturday's against No. 2 Florida State, but he also warned them to ignore the hype and focus on preparation.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bobby Petrino knows about the hype. He’s happy to have ESPN’s College GameDay coming to campus. He talked to his team all season about taking care of business in order to make this game a meaningful one.
It all has come to pass. But now, Petrino is only interested in one thing -- making sure his team comes to play when No. 2-ranked Florida State visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at noon Saturday.
“I know our players are excited about it and really looking forward to it,” Petrino told reporters at his weekly news conference on Monday. “Obviously with GameDay here, it’s a great thing for the city and for the University of Louisville, but for our players it’s really just about focusing and practicing and going about their business exactly the same way we have been. That way, it doesn’t become a distraction or anything like that.”
Louisville was ranked No. 19 in the preseason, but after two impressive performances by sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson and the rest of the team, the Cardinals leaped to No. 10 in the Associated Press and coaches’ polls. That jump, coupled with Jackson’s unprecedented two-game offensive starts that has included twice being named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, transformed the matchup from a key ACC game to a national draw. It has been pegged for an ABC national broadcast all season, but ESPN made the decision to bring its GameDay crew here for the weekend.
Evidence of that was already visible at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Monday, with GameDay semis moving into position and the MetLife blimp overhead.
Petrino has been pleased with the way his offense has executed in the first two games. He likes his team’s approach in practice. Now he just wants those things to continue.
“We’ve worked hard to try to get to this point,” Petrino said. “Now we’ve got to put everything into preparing like we always do. One thing I believe is we don’t have to do anything extraordinary to win the game. We just have to play good, solid Louisville Cardinal football.”
When asked if he’d talked to the team about ignoring the distractions, Petrino answered quickly, saying, “Already done.”
But he also said he gave his players credit.
“What I told the players is that they earned it,” Petrino said. “They are the ones who brought GameDay here by the way they played. That’s why we’re where we’re at. So they need to have fun with it, but also understand that this is a normal week for them. It is great for the city and the university and everything else -- should help our recruiting and is good for the conference. But we still need to play well. That’s the biggest thing. We need to go out and win games and find a way to win a championship.”
Florida State was a 3.5-point favorite in early Las Vegas lines. The Seminoles have climbed to No. 2 in the nation. They’ve won each of the past two meetings with Louisville since the program entered the ACC, scoring 35 points in the second half of both games.
“We were trying to get to a place where this game meant a lot,” Petrino said. “Florida State is a great program. They’ve been to the championship game, they’ve got a ring on their finger. We knew if we were going to make a run in this conference or to get to the goal that we want, we were going to have to beat them.”
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