LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville team had closed scrimmage Saturday, the Cardinals’ final tune-up leading into the spring football game, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 15 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The scrimmage, which included officials, was a simulated game that featured 160 plays and matched the first-team offense against the first-team defense.

1. Reggie Bonnafon, a senior halfback, received most of the carries. Ronald Walker made the sole interception.

U of L coach Bobby Petrino answered questions for about 10 minutes after his team’s practice. Here are seven takeaways from Petrino’s media session.

Although quarterback Lamar Jackson won the 2016 Heisman Trophy, Petrino has discussed that Jackson, like every player and coach, must continue to improve. How has Jackson improved this spring?

PETRINO: “I thought he had a really good week. That really was the emphasis. Seeing the safeties, understanding the coverage and going through your progressions. One-two-three. Understanding what’s going on.

“I thought he had his best week in really focusing and trying to understand the protections, what the defense is doing.

“I think he felt good about it, how he handled the protections, changed the protection at the line. That’s something that will really help us.

“We’re still working on throwing the ball away. He still thinks he can run and make every single play. We’re still working on that. It’s hard, too, when they’re not tackling him.”

2. Seth Dawkins ranked seventh on the team in receptions last season, making 11 catches in a dozen games as a freshman. How has Dawkins progressed this spring?

PETRINO: “Seth Dawkins continues to play really well. He’s getting to the position where we rely on him in situations. We rely on him in matchups. He generally comes through and makes the play. Makes the run after the catch. 

“That’s something that’s really stood out the last two scrimmages is how he runs after the catch. That was really good to see.”

3. How is the competition at running back?

PETRINO: “I thought the running backs did a good job.  Trey Smith had a good day. Reggie played running back today and really did a good job. They took the majority of the work.”

4. What’s the latest of halfback Jeremy Smith, who has missed time with an undisclosed injury?

PETRINO: “We’ve got a few guys that are out. Like we say, we don’t want to talk about the guys that are hurt. We want to talk about the guys who are out there and perform and do a good job on the field.”

5. Cornerback Cornelius Sturghill has been one of the feel-good stories of the spring while recovering from a foot injury he suffered during a drive-by shooting in Memphis last year. How has Sturghill performed?

PETRINO: “It just puts a smile on my face because it was such a hard night when I got the phone call. Talked to his Mom. Complete shock. A kid just walking down the street. All of a sudden we didn’t know if he would have the opportunity to play again. I think the doctors are remarkable in what they’ve done.

“His attitude and his work ethic have given him the opportunity. He’s tough.

“I know he gets in pain, like in Wednesday’s practice. Doesn’t practice a lot on Friday. Then he goes out on Saturday and scrimmages. It’s kind of amazing what he’s doing really.

“He’s really good. He’s good football player. He’s really fast. One thing about corners: They’re all going to get beat at some point. This dude can catch up in a hurry because he’s really fast.”

6. What impressed you the most during Saturday’s practice?

PETRINO:  “I liked what I saw today. We had some good performances on both sides of the ball. Defensively, I think our defensive line had a really good week of practice. Drew Bailey is doing a really good job of leading that group and rushing the passer. We’re still working hard on understanding the difference between pass and run.

“I thought our O-line had a good week and improved. I think we’re getting closer to knowing where we’re going to play guys at and what positions we’re going to be. It obviously can still change.

“We’re going to go back to work. We have a big week coming up. On Monday we’ll go helmets only. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ll be good hard work days. Thursday we’ll be in the meeting room and learn from the week of practice

“Then we come Friday, we’ll do a walk-through like we would on a normal Friday. We want to learn a lot from that, like it’s a game week. Then approach Saturday like it’s a game. How we go through pre-game meal. How we go through warm-ups. How we do everything. We try to really take advantage of it and learn from it and see how guys do.”

7. How has new defensive coordinator Peter Sirmons adjusted during his move from Mississippi State?

PETRINO: “He’s done a great job. I think he’s really good teacher and a great motivator. I saw a lot improvement from our defense this week. They really did a good job.”

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