Louisville Football has had 3 Open Practice dates thus far in the 2016 Fall Camp. Today (Tuesday) the Cards were full contact and it was the best look at what the team might look like when they kickoff vs. Charlotte in 23 Days.
Absent Corners….and Ronald Walker
Trumaine Washington & Alphonso Carter were not in attendance today. Jaire Alexander practiced in a non-contact yellow jersey and Shaq Wiggins left practice with what looked like a minor (yet painful) hand injury to go along with Cornelius Sturghill who is out for the season. So there was a lot of opportunity for young corners to get some serious reps.
Ronald Walker from Copiah-Lincoln CC took full advantage and was not afraid to come up and tackle all afternoon. Emonee Spence is the only player we noticed who really got the best of Walker during 11 on 11, but the cornerbacks were taking a huge amount of snaps and that certainly tested that group’s stamina.
Walk-on Aaron Floyd deserves a shout-out for some fantastic play. True Freshman Larmaques Thomas and Chris Taylor-Yamanoha also both had their moments. Today was a big day for them.
It’s difficult to contain enthusiasm for Lamar Jackson when watching a practice like he had today. Lamar had his usual running game going but his ball deception has improved and he was in a rhythm throwing the deep ball. Lamar actually did struggle on a few quick slants here and there, but that’s being picky….he was executing well. In 11 on 11 it became a contest on how few plays it would take the #1 offense to score, one drive took 2 plays.
The player who seems to be the favorite target of Lamar Jackson is Cole Hikutini. Cole did a good job of getting open on Tuesday and turned several catches into 40+ yard gains. Hikutini is poised for a big season and has shown to be a major weapon for the Cards this camp.
Our readers should already know all about Devonte Fields and James Hearns, but on Tuesday Jonathan Greenard & Henry Famurewa really made an impact. Both players were very disruptive in the backfield throughout the day particularly versus the run. It appears that the Cards will be just fine at OLB in 2016 and in the future…..these two guys can play.
Punters & Kickers
Mason King has the likely edge at punter in our view. He seems to get more height on his punts and they land more consistently in the desired zone. Austin Johnson does get off some great punts and does a better job of getting the spiral effect off his foot. It’s just really a matter of consistency at this point. Tuesday Austin was much more consistent but Friday it appeared that his nerves got the best of him.
At Kicker Evan O’Hara wasn’t at his best on Tuesday but we’ve seen him kick much better. Austin Laszewski definitely won the day placekicking at Tuesday’s practice. Louisville REALLY needs one of its kickers to establish himself as the #1 guy. There is plenty of leg talent in the entire group, but the Cards are going to need clutch kicks to do what they want to do in 2016.
Replacing Stacy Thomas
Amonte Caban played A LOT of snaps in replacements of Stacy Thomas and then also down with the 2nd team as well. Caban needs the reps coming off of his redshirt season, but Louisville is also working in formations with just one ILB (Nickel with 2 OLBs or DIME). Todd Grantham does a nice job of trying different things and getting different personnel on the field but getting Stacy Thomas back and having Caban & Isaac Stewart as back-ups is definitely the desired plan.