COACH PETRINO: “First, just let me say our thoughts and prayers are with John Asher’s family. Obviously, everyone here knows him – great guy, great man. He’ll be really missed. (The) 45th anniversary of Paul Rogers – congratulations Paul, excited about that, that’s a heck of a deal.


“And now, it’s game week. It’s a good time for us. What we did is, Friday night, we had a ‘mock game,’ which is part-scrimmage and part-situations, and a lot of special teams. You’ve got to get all the special teams work, with all the things that could come up in special teams. But, I like the way it was done. We did a good job with it. Our players did a good job with it, preparing for it, and then, they come in on Saturday morning and we do a team run, and then, came back last night and had our start-of-the week practice for Alabama. Today’s their day off, we always do that early in the year, have Monday as their day off. That’s when some of our players take labs and have later classes, and then sometimes later in the year, we change it to Sunday as the day off. It works out better for Monday, so our first real practice again tomorrow for the Alabama game.


“But, we’re excited for it. Fired up for our team. I think we’ve had a good camp. We’ve grown and gotten better. I think we’ve learned a lot about our players, they’ve learned about each other, and we’re excited to play a game. We’re certainly at that point where we’re tired of hitting and tackling, and going against each other, so it’s time for a game, and we’ve got a good one playing the defending national champions. Great tradition, very well-coached team, with a lot of really good players. It’s a great challenge for us. We’re looking forward to it. We’re excited. We need to have a good week of practice, good week of preparation—not just practice, but the entire week of preparation, and the meetings and the studying, and really understanding. It seems like we’ve been working for this game for a long, long time, so it’s nice to finally get here and get the week going.”


(On players who unexpectedly became starters)


COACH PETRINO: “No, and I think we hand out the two-deep right after the press conference. But, no, I think we’re pretty much … we’ve had some really good competition and we still have some competition going on. This is the tentative starting lineup, and obviously, you’ve still got to practice and work to get better in practice, and work to keep your job in practice. But, it’s pretty close to where we fought it would be when we started the season and there hasn’t been a whole lot of change, luckily (knocks on table).


(On performance of senior wide receiver Jaylen Smith in practice)


COACH PETRINO: “I was excited to see the shape that he’s in, and how he was able to handle the load in practice, the reps, and be able to do anything and everything. He did go through the scrimmage the other night, the mock game the other night—did a nice job, caught some nice passes, so that was good to see. I think he’s in good condition, ready to go. So, I was happy about that, and that’s a credit to our trainers and the other things we have to allow kids to condition: the underground treadmill, the other treadmill that lowers your weight, and the ability to go ahead and condition when you’re not fully healthy. I was a little bit surprised how good of condition he was in.”


(On performance of redshirt sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass in camp)


COACH PETRINO: “I think he’s getting there as the leader. The first thing you have to do as a quarterback is do your job really well, to be a leader. You have to be able to direct and change the mood at times. And I’ve seen him see that and do it, and demand kids to pick it up and get going. So, that was really good to see.  It’s his time. He’s ready to go. He’s been preparing for this for a long time. He just needs to relax, have a good week of practice. He did really well Friday night. I was really excited about how sharp he was, how accurate he was, and his decision making, so we’re going to focus on decision making and execution all week long in practice.”


(On the challenges of preparing for the possibility of two Alabama quarterbacks, not knowing which one will play on Saturday)


COACH PETRINO: “Yeah, and one of them only played a half, and then cranked the ball deep and did a great job throwing the football. We’ve been having to prepare for both of them. They both can run, and they’re both big 220-pound guys that can run with big hips that are hard to tackle, so the thing we have to do is get in position to make the tackles when they do run and do a great job of form tackling and getting extra guys to the ball. They’re very sound on everything that they do – protection, run game, their RPO game that they do. We’ve got to be able to recognize splits and formations and tips and try to have an idea what’s coming before the ball’s snapped.”


(On the development of the defense under new coordinator Brian VanGorder)


COACH PETRINO: “I’ve liked our camp. Like I said last week, our attitude, our toughness and our commitment to effort has really showed up in camp. I felt like the other night that our assignments and speed, we were playing faster because we knew what we were doing. There wasn’t a lot of hesitation out there. So, I was happy with the way we ran to the football and the way we tackled, and the attitude that we’re playing with is what you need.”


(On Pass’ development as a passer)


COACH PETRINO: “That’s kind of what he was coming out of high school. We felt like he’s getting back to the pocket passer, the guy that can move in there. He does a really good job of throwing the ball across the middle. I think that’s something that has really shown up in practice and in his ability to make those passes where you’ve got to hit the top of the helmet. I think it helps with his height and his release in doing that. He also does a good job of moving and throwing the ball on the run. He has a really short, quick release and gets his body in the right position. So, I think his two years here, he’s improved and worked extremely hard at it. I think it’s going to be being able to carry it over from the practice field to the game field so that you continue to have the right set,  have your feet in the right position, get your shoulder in the right position and be able to just focus on my reads and let the muscle memory take care of itself.”


(On what makes Alabama’s defense so successful)


COACH PETRINO: “They’re always really good at stopping the run and working to stop the run, whether it’s technique and fundamentals and being sound, or pressuring you with run pressures to try to stop the run. Then, they’ve got guys who can really rush the passer. They do a good job, they’ve always done a good job of adjusting during the game too. That’s one of the things that we noticed from them before. They’re going to come out in the second half and have a couple new things that we didn’t see in the first half, particularly on third down.”


(On the aim for the first offensive series of the game and if it will change at all for Saturday’s game)


COACH PETRINO: “No, it doesn’t change, it’s another game. Start of the season, so we’d like to take the ball and go get a touchdown. That’s typically what we want to do and expect to do. You try to mix different personnel groups, different formations in there. We’ve got to do a good job up in the press box, really understanding what we’re seeing and what they’re doing to those different personnel groups and different formations. You’re not only trying to score, but you’re trying to learn and bring it to the next series.”


(On status of tight ends coach Coach Klenakis)


COACH PETRINO: “Yeah, nothing has changed there.”


(On whether Klenakis will be coaching Saturday)


COACH PETRINO: “No, he’s not coaching Saturday.”


(On working to motivating players to believe that they can beat Alabama)


COACH PETRINO: “Well, we’re working on it every day. I think you do it by working extremely hard in practice and understanding that you did that. Trusting your teammates did it and going into the game with confidence, and one of the things that helps your confidence is you really understand what you’re doing, and you study and know the game plan and know what we’re doing and then you’re ready to go execute it. So, it’s not it’s not like it’s a new thing or anything, it’s the same thing you try to do for every game and part of your job as a coach is to get your players to believe that you can go out there and win the game. Get your players to believe during the game that you’re going to win the game. That’s a big part of coaching. We’ve had a lot of good games where our players have done that and then you go out and play the way you can play every now and then you get a game where it shows up that you really didn’t believe it and then you make the mistakes and you normally catch a ball and you drop it. You normally hit this curl you know 10 out of 11 snaps and all of a sudden, the ball is high and sailing off. I always believed that that’s part of whether you believe when you’re going to win, or you don’t.”


(On if there is any way to know if the players fully believe)


COACH PETRINO: “Well, you go play the game. Here we go. It’s time to do it.”


(On potentially gleaning information from documentary following Alabama’s camp)


COACH PETRINO: “We had guys that looked at it every night and took notes and drawings and try to get as much out of it as we possibly can.”


(On team’s health entering the season)


COACH PETRINO: “I think we’re pretty healthy, so it looks like we should have everybody available and good to go.”


(On when he studies film of other teams)


COACH PETRINO: “When we come back from recruiting, we always have three teams that we’re going to spend time on in the offseason getting ready for the next season. So, we usually have one week where we totally game plan for this game and we come back in spring ball and spend time practicing for it in spring ball, and then, you come back in the summertime, and then, spend another week or two weeks on game planning. And now, it’s started all over again. So, it’s one of those things…a lot of times, there’s not a lot that you change, but there are times where (you say) ‘Hey, were not executing this very well.’ You take it out, so really, you probably eliminate more than you put in at this point in time because the first game plan, you put everything you’ve got up on the board, and then, you start eliminating.”


(On dealing with injury to redshirt sophomore fullback Tobias Little)


COACH PETRINO: “You know that’s part of football is that you understand there will be some injuries, and it’s unfortunate. Tobias has worked so hard and I was excited to see him play, and I know he was excited to do it. He’s got a great attitude and he’ll come back from it. but guys are just working hard doing to get their name called and get carries. There’s still good competition. They’re still working hard at it, and you’ve got (redshirt junior) Trey Smith, you’ve got (redshirt sophomore) Dae Williams, you’ve got (redshirt freshman) Colin Wilson … (junior) Malik Staples has come in and helped us and done some really good things. And then, you’ve got the two freshmen (Hassan Hall and Javian Hawkins) that are still trying to understand what’s going every play, but boy, can they run and catch and are exciting.”


(On his message to Pass before Saturday’s game)


COACH PETRINO: “We’re just going to go out and practice right now, and then obviously, there’ll be a lot that we talk about. But, he’s just going to practice.”


(On status of sophomore safety TreSean Smith for Saturday’s game)


COACH PETRINO: “Yeah, TreSean’s done a nice job and played Friday night, did a good job.”

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of

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