It was a picture perfect & windy day for Louisville Football’s 3rd Spring Practice of the 2017 season. There was a lot of energy on the practice fields and the 3 hour session went by very quickly. Today the defense impressed more than the offense did. They were organized played with passion and seemed to know their assignments for the most part. The wind may have affected the vertical passing game some for the Cards but even in run drills the defense was very solid today.
Getting started with the Offensive Line the #1 group had consistent starters of Kenny Thomas & Lukayus McNeil at Guard with Geron Christian at Weak Tackle. At Center Nathan Scheler & Tyler Haycraft split reps with the #1 group and Toriano Roundtree & Linwood Foy split reps with the #1 group at Strong Tackle. Mike Summers was out there with vocal instruction on hand placement and angles throughout the session. Cole Bentley drew a lot of attention from Bobby Petrino and Max Martin, Luke Schultheiss & Robbie Bell were the mainstays in the next group. The O-Line is an obvious area of emphasis.
Tobias Little is still learning offense but has a great frame for fullback. Little had a nice couple moments carrying the ball and also took a huge shot from Chucky Williams.
The Passing Game
Lamar Jackson looked ‘OK’ in the windy conditions compared to what we typically saw last Fall. The Heisman winner still has a cannon but made several overthrows today in the wind. Puma Pass has certainly improved since we saw him last Fall and is still uncertain on his reads at times. Puma did throw an absolute beauty to Seth Dawkins. Dawkins & Dez Fitzpatrick were the main wide receivers today with Jaylen Smith sitting out due to foot surgery. Traveon Samuel & Keion Wakefield both had a few nice moments as well. Emonee Spence & Javonte Bagley are two guys that always look great in practice. Petrino said that he was looking to get Reggie Bonnafon more involved and it appears that they are working to do just that. Finally Devante Peete plays with such great energy all the time, it’s contagious to the rest of his teammates.
Charles Standberry appears to be the guy at the moment at Tight End, but Jordan Davis & Micky Crum also mixed in about equally it appeared. Austin Cummins was wearing a ‘yellow’ injury jersey.
Jeremy Smith had a fumble early in the practice that seemed to take some of the wind out of his sails. Jeremy looks great, but obviously the Cards can’t have record-setting fumble numbers again in 2017. Dae Williams & Trey Smith both got a lot of reps and in the full contact segment defenders really weren’t eager to take on Dae (except Malik Staples). Very difficult to evaluate running backs in this format, but the Cards clearly have an opportunity for a player to step up at the running back position. Malik Williams is out for Spring with an injury and you have to wonder whether or not Colin Wilson will be given a shot to start once he arrives on campus. Walk-on Maurice Burkley posted some incredible figures during testing and was also factoring in and had some really nice moves.
The #1 D-line was mostly Chris Williams, De’Asian Richardson & Drew Bailey. At times James Hearns & Tabarious Peterson also mixed in with their hand down in situational downs. Chris Williams’ get off is phenomenal. Caleb Tillman had some nice moments as did GG Robinson & Derek Dorsey. Depth is a worry this Spring and for the upcoming season. The good news is that the guys they have are getting a lot of work. But help could be on the way.
It was great to see Trevon Young get some run today but the highlight of the day was really James Hearns. Hearns was kind of unstoppable in every drill. The Cards are without Jonathan Greenard and Tabarious Peterson played A LOT. Stacy Thomas was clearly the staple returner at Inside Linebacker and at the moment it appears that Amonte Caban is going to step in for Keith Kelsey as Issac Stewart was with the 2s today. Malik Staples was next to Stewart with the 2nd group and its clear that the Cards have talent at Inside Backer. True Freshman Kam Jones also got some work in.
Looks like the starting secondary right now is Trumaine Washington, Jaire Alexander, Chucky Williams, Zykiesis Cannon & Lamarques Thomas. Jaire Alexander looks awesome and its going to be hard to find a better corner duo than Tru & Jaire. Cornelius Sturghill had some really nice breaks on the ball, it was nice to finally see him on the practice field again after missing last season. Also at corner was Chris Taylor-Yamanoha who was listed at WR, but is still with the corners and Lyn Strange was at Corner despite being listed at Safety. Lamarques Thomas was used sort of as a nickel and actually blitzed a lot. Thomas moves really well but he’s going to be pressed by CJ Avery (who looks huge) and PJ Blue for that position. Having Thomas, Blue & Avery available really gives the Cards some position flexibility that they didn’t have a year ago in the secondary.
London Iakopo was out on the field with a yellow jersey and was very limited. Ronald Walker was also in a yellow jersey as well. Khane Pass is out for the Spring following surgery.
Mason King hit some BOMBS and Austin Johnson is getting much more height on his punts as well. Reggie Bonnafon, Cornelius Sturghill….and of course Jaire Alexander were back returning punts. I personally didn’t note much in the way of Long Snappers or Field Goal kickers so that detail will have to come from another practice.
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