Louisville’s 4th day of practice was a hot one and the last of the split sessions between veterans and newcomers. The team will come together tomorrow afternoon at 4:20 and the increased workload of the 1st four days was an exhaustive exercise in conditioning. The coaching staff is ACTIVE and there is no question that the schedule is as tough for them as it is for the players. The communication between groups is outstanding and there really isn’t a missed opportunity to teach. Louisville isn’t a complete team yet, but they are working incredibly hard. Here are a few notes:
-Louisville Defense really dominated the sessions. There was a play where Traveon Samuel scored on a long TD and the offense took a moment to celebrate. That celebration resulted in a ripping from the coaching staff and a warning from the defense. This Louisville D has swag and are constantly communicating and helping each other. It’s really fun to see the “TEAM” mentality of the defensive group when they come to the sideline.
-Reggie Bonnafon looked much better today than he did on Saturday. He still made some bad reads and throws but it was an improvement from a day before. Bonnafon still has that ‘streaky’ quality to his game where he’ll make an outstanding throw or play and then make a head scratching play. It’s consistency for Reggie, but with the amount of reps these guys are taking it’s not unexpected, and that’s for every position not just the QB. Will Gardner continues to be better than expected and makes the fewest errors.
-Jaire Alexander gets a lot of opportunity and made some really nice plays as the #1 CB opposite of Shaq Wiggins. However, Petrino took a moment to express some frustration with 4 Pass Interference penalties on Jaire during the day. Shaq Wiggins is incredibly solid on the opposite side. Cornelius Sturghill wore his yellow jersey again today but is also in play here as is Duke Culver who is really emerging. The Cards are fine at corner and while Petrino was frustrated with Alexander’s PIs, it’s a matter of timing and the true freshman isn’t out of position he’s just got to focus on technique during these really fast & exhausting sessions.
-The offensive line continues to develop and it appears that the starting group is as follows:
Weak Tackle: Aaron Epps
Weak Guard: Khalil Hunter
Center: Pedro Sibiea
Strong Guard: Kiola Mahoni
Strong Tackle: Kelby Johnson
The question seems to be whether or not Kelby Johnson can hold off Kenny Thomas. Kenny Thomas looks outstanding (probably needs to lose a little weight) and is really competing. (Personal Note: I like Kenny Thomas better at Guard). Lukayus McNeil also may be in play here as well. Geron Christian appears to be working most at guard and even took some snaps at Center early in practice.
-James Burgess is playing the best football of his career. He’s everywhere and he’s even better in pass coverage than a year ago. Stacy Thomas is the guy behind both Burgess and Keith Kelsey, although Lamar Atkins has made several nice plays as well.
-Joshua Appleby at punter is still working on consistently delivering punts. He can boom one 60 yards and then the next hit one for just 30. There were more ‘beauties’ today than misses and when the ball hits off of his foot right it is a really impressive thing to see.
-James Hearns continues to play really good football and is an emerging talent. The same goes for Zykesis Canon and Duke Culver (formerly De’Eric). Charles Standberry on offensive is going to really be a problem for defenses and fans should expect more Standberry in 2015. He looks great.
-Chucky Williams, Ja’Quay Savage, and Alphonso Carter were absent from practice today.
-Louisville hits the field as a full team at 4:20 Monday & Tuesday for the last two open practices of 2015.