Opening Statement

COACH PETRINO: “You know, watching the video yesterday, there’s a lot of good things on that video, starting with our quarterback, Lamar Jackson. He played really well – had 30 completions out of 46 attempts, did things like get the protection set, not have a sack; throw the ball away, which was one of our goals going in, when we were out of the pocket and there was no possible way to get yards or get a completion, to throw the ball away and save that yardage. I thought he did a really good job with that. He made throws scrambling out and finding our scramble rule guys, did a good job getting open and moving and catching the balls that way; and when the game was on the line, did a really good job of getting perfect throws for touchdowns and helping us win the game. I was really impressed with him. I think people told me it’s the fourth-highest game in school history and the first time we had 30 pass completions without a sack or an interception, so obviously, he played extremely well.

I really liked our special teams. I thought we did a great job on special teams, starting with our kickoff cover. We had five times where we kept them inside the 21-yard line, forced a turnover, and guys were flying around, and playing fast and hitting. Kicked the ball well, with the exception of the one time, and that really helped us. It really helped the field position and certainly helped us win the game. We also had two really good returns: (sophomore wide receiver) Seth Dawkins and (senior running back) Reggie (Bonnafon). It looked like Reggie was going to score on the one and just missed it, but that’s a really good job. And then, a great punt at the end of the game to get the field flipped and give us the opportunity to win. I was really happy. I know we won on special teams.

It was great to see (senior linebacker) Trevon Young out there, flying around, playing hard—he graded out really high, a couple sacks and a couple of pass deflections. I wish he would’ve caught one of them. I’ll have to get him on the JUGS machine this week and make sure we get that interception. But he just played really hard and fast and even on the touchdown by (redshirt senior linebacker) Stacy Thomas, it was his pressure of the quarterback that caused the throw and allowed us to catch the ball and run it in the end zone. I really can’t tell everyone here how happy I am for him, because I know what he went through and how hard he worked at it, and how hard it was on him. It’s been a two-year process to get back, so it’s just great to see that happen. The rest of our defense played well. We didn’t stop them all of the time, but when you get in that fourth quarter and the game was on the line, we came up huge. We were able to play a lot of players—we played eight, nine defensive linemen that rotated in and that allowed us to stay fresh and be able to put the pressure on people at the end of the game. We got a lot of young guys in the game and that was good to see too. (Freshman safety) TreSean Smith had a huge play with the interception in the end zone. It’s one thing to be disciplined on the read and to know what to do, and it’s another thing to go up and make that interception and show that athletic ability, so that was great to see.

We do have some things to clean up, starting with penalties and fumbles. You’ve got to score when you get to the 1-yard line—we’re certainly going to work hard on those things. We’re going to work on a lot of things to get ready for this weekend, to go on the road and play North Carolina, a team that looks good on video. They look good on video, they run the ball well and we got two quarterbacks again to prepare for. Defensively, they’ve got a lot of experience—you turn the video on from last year and this year and it’s a lot of the same players playing, particularly at linebacker and in the secondary. We just have to have a great week of preparation. I know a lot of people have said that you improve the most from week one to week two. I don’t know how that’s ever been measured, but I do know that I hope it works this week, that we make the most improvement ever from week one to week two.”

(On what to focus on in post-game discussions with team)

COACH PETRINO: “Of course, we talk about the good things. Like I said, when you watch the video—and what we actually did is we brought them in 6:30 this morning and watched the video, because we don’t have school today, so yesterday was their day off. Then, we’re able to lift and run today, so we took advantage of the day off and brought them in early. They watched, they get excited to see the good plays, and then, we correct the bad plays. When you put the video on, we did a lot of good things.”

(On facing two quarterbacks against Purdue and North Carolina)

COACH PETRINO: “I think it will help us in our film preparation, and we’ve been through it before where you really have to understand what they’re attempting to do when each quarterback is in the game. So, that’s something we’ve been through. We even split the video that way, we have all our players watch it that way; when each quarterback’s in, what’s their tendencies, what do they like to do, so it’s something we’ve been through. It should help us.”

(On Lamar Jackson’s adjustments in accuracy and precision)

COACH PETRINO: “He put some balls in small windows. His accuracy allowed us to get yards after the catch, and also allowed us to score in the end zone. He’s doing a really nice job with his sets, and when he sets, he gets on-line and he’s really accurate. I was proud about all the other things he did: understanding what coverages there were, there was even one time where he checked a protection and we weren’t really in the right protection, but he had the right reason to check the protection—they blew the coverage completely. He did the right thing. His knowledge and his confidence to do that—sometimes as a young quarterback, say a year ago, you would see things, but then you just didn’t really believe it. Now when he sees it, he believes it. He knows exactly what he wants to do and take advantage of it. We had to throw the ball in that game. We had to throw it a lot. One reason was they were trying to stop us from running it, so we committed to throwing it and it was great to see that we could get those completions and those plays, and continue to move the ball and not just rely on big plays. Last year, throwing the ball was a lot about big plays, but this time, we were able to be consistently hitting hands and catching balls.”

(On learning from first game)

COACH PETRINO: “Definitely—to get out there and experience it and then watch the video, you definitely learn a lot more than a scrimmage. There’s a lot more pressure on our players. Certainly, it will help our young guys. I think we will get better this week in practice. We definitely need to.”

(On performance of young players)

COACH PETRINO: “I really liked how (freshman linebacker) Dorian Etheridge played. He’s really fast out there, he doesn’t hesitate at all, he made a couple mistakes, but when he makes a mistake, he’s going full speed. I thought TreSean did a really nice job. (Freshman offensive lineman) Mekhi Becton did a really nice job in pass protection, didn’t give up any edges, punched, timed his punch and was really good technically on it. He needs to get better in blocking the run and utilizing his strength in the run blocking. (Freshman wide receiver) Corey Reed did a nice job on special teams for us, and he’s going to continue getting more reps in the offense, once he can learn the signals and know what’s going on out there.”

(On addressing false starts and simulating crowd noise)

COACH PETRINO: “We do (simulate crowd noise)—two weeks of headaches out there in practice. The issue on that was when they were stemming, (Redshirt freshman center) Robbie (Bell) would recall fronts, so when he was talking and trying to alert everyone what the recall of the front was, was when the ball was supposed to be snapped; so even know we on the sideline could hear the clap, and they could hear it on TV, he was in the middle of saying things, so it is an experience thing, where we need to understand that we’ll know what the front is. If they stem that late, then we just have to sort it out and block it.”

(On status of junior cornerback Jaire Alexander)

COACH PETRINO: “No. Nothing more than yesterday. We’ll see how the week goes.”

(On expectations of program in fourth season)

COACH PETRINO: “First and foremost, I think it’s in recruiting. There’s been a lot of benefits and our coaches are doing a great job. The players that have come here from those areas have had success and have been able to experience what we told them they would experience, or help us a lot in recruiting. I do believe that the expectations of our coaching staff, our players, our fans, our administration are to compete for a national championship. Last year, we were there for 11 weeks, talked about it, and then we dropped off the face of the Earth and didn’t finish the way we wanted to. I think the game last Saturday night will be something that will help this team. We had to compete, we had to fight, we had to stick together, we had leaders show up—(junior offensive lineman) Lukayus McNeil took over and did a great job of leadership for the offense and that all carries over—way more than our opener a year ago where you just blow everybody out, and everyone smiles and pats themselves on the back. I would much rather have a game like we had the other night than we did a year ago.”

(On redshirt freshman wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick)

COACH PETRINO: “I thought he did a really nice job. He also did a good job of blocking out there and playing hard. The thing that was good to see was the first catch down the middle. Him and Lamar were both exactly on the same page. They both saw the coverage; they knew what was going to happen. It was perfectly thrown and caught. On the touchdown pass, they were both exactly on the same page. That’s something that we worked on throughout the week. He had to beat the corner and the safety to get the ball in there, and Dez had to quick-tuck it, which he did. The option route was a really nice job by Lamar because he started on the other side and then popped back, which is a drill we work on. Then Dez was right where he needed to be, and he did a nice job of catching it and getting vertical after the catch there too. Then he also had another catch in the first part of the game that I thought he did a nice job, but I can’t picture it right now.”

(On addressing fumbles)

COACH PETRINO: “You can’t reach the ball out over the goal line. That’s something that kids see on T.V. and they try to do it, but every team has issues with that. Sometimes you worry about it, you fumble it before it crosses the plane, and it goes out of bounds and it’s a touchback. Sometimes if you’re going down and they can’t see whether you’re down, they’re going to call it a fumble and let the video overturn it. You just can’t do that. For the other one with (junior wide receiver) Jaylen (Smith), he just needs to touch the ball away a little quicker and get both hands over it, but that was a good defensive play. You can’t take that away from the linebacker there. He hit the ball exactly, and he did what he has been coached to do too, sometimes that does happen.”

(On the atmosphere of the game at the neutral site in Indianapolis)

COACH PETRINO: “I thought it was great. I was very proud of our fans and our crowd. The only issue was getting home. There was a lot of traffic and a lot of fog on the way back.

(On coaching Louisville at North Carolina in 2004 and memories of stadium)

COACH PETRINO: “I’m getting pretty old to remember way back then. That was a good game. Actually, I do remember it a lot. We came out and hit Montrell (Jones) on the first play of the game and Stefan (LeFors) was really accurate. We had this little freshman running back that finished the game for us. We handed him the ball about five to seven times in a row. He made a lot of guys miss, ran over a couple guys. He was number 33; his name was Kolby Smith. I remember that game pretty well. In the second half, we handed the ball to Eric Shelton, he ran down on it lead play for a touchdown. Our defense did a great job of getting off the field on third downs. I don’t know if they converted a third down. But I don’t remember much about the stadium. I do remember that color of jersey that they wear.”

(On Purdue looking committed to stopping the run and anticipating whether or not stopping the run is something other teams will do as well)

COACH PETRINO: “That will be interesting in this game because they played against a team the other night that really threw the ball. They worked extremely hard on their pass defense and they did a good job on their pass defense. How that will correlate to how they play us will be interesting to see.”

(On thoughts on the overall strength of the ACC)

COACH PETRINO: “I’m just worried about us. I’m trying to get us better. We know it’s a competitive conference, obviously with Clemson winning the national championship last year and how strong Florida State has always been, and other teams just keep getting better. I think it’s going to be a great conference, very competitive. I think that the coach of North Carolina has done a great job there and certainly built that program. They did lose a lot of guys off of their team last year. They were a heavy senior team and had some really big wins last year, but they’ve got guys that have been in the system and it’s a very good system that they run, so it doesn’t take them that long to get going if they have been in it.”

(On how to rally a team when they have a rough start to the season)

COACH PETRINO: “I’m hoping we don’t have to. Obviously, we went through that a couple years ago when we started out 0-3 and had some tough losses. You just stick to what you believe in and work on getting better. That’s what I was really proud of that team for. We got better as the year went on, kept improving, kept competing. The leadership kind of changes around a little bit on the team. The guys that really cared the most took over the leadership, and by the end of the year we beat (Texas) A&M in a bowl game. So, the ability to improve in practice is something that you have to be sold on. I think our coaching staff, our strength staff, and our players understand the grind and are sold on going to practice and getting better.”

(On overall assessment of the defense, especially against Purdue’s complicated offense)

COACH PETRINO: “They did a really good job. We had a little lull in the second quarter, but the rest of the game, they did a really good job. When the game was on the line in the fourth quarter, we were at our best and our guys played hard, did things right. That allowed us to win the game.”

(On whether Jaire Alexander’s attempted return of the blocked field goal was given the green light or if it was instinctual on field goal defense)

COACH PETRINO: “That was an error. That was a mistake. We have guys on video that are calling ‘Peter, Peter, Peter.’ First of all, it was a great block. (Senior defensive lineman) Drew Bailey did a great job of blocking the field goal there. We penetrated, he took three steps, got his hand up exactly like we teach it. He did it perfect. Then we have guys calling ‘Peter, Peter.’ We all know that if the ball crosses the line of scrimmage we get away from it. Punt, field goal, and if it’s on their side we try to scoop and score. It was just an error to do that.”

On why ‘Peter, Peter’ is called:

COACH PETRINO: “Get away from it. I don’t know why. I don’t really understand a lot about defensive coaches. For an example, when my dad was coaching, everything was ‘ball, ball ball.’ If you intercepted it, it was ‘score, score, score.’ Most of the coaches around the country always teach ‘pass, pass, pass’ and ‘ball, ball, ball’ and ‘oskie, oksie, oskie.’ I don’t know what the heck oskie means, but that’s a tradition. They also don’t know how to count. You go across the line, and on offense we call them a 1-technique, a 2-technique, a 3-technique. Then 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 on the tight end. The defensive coaches go with a 1 and a 2, and a 3-technique. Then they go 4i, 5, and then on the tight end they go 6. 7 is back inside of the tight end and 9 back outside the tight end. That, I heard, came from the state of Texas, but I cannot get that at all. We don’t teach it on offense because we like to just keep it right in line.”

(On having defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon in the press box during the game)

COACH PETRINO: “I was a little bit nervous about that because of how much leadership he showed down on the field during scrimmages and practices, and how much he handled everything down on the field. So, we made sure that we practiced with him in the box. I think that with the experience of (Associate Head Coach/Secondary) Lorenzo (Ward) and his communication skills and the other guys that we have on the sideline, I’ve always though calling plays from the box was a lot easier. I liked doing it when I was an offensive coordinator. Then when I started thinking of getting a head coaching job someday, I talked to (former Louisville coach) John L. (Smith) about getting me down on the sidelines because we had some receivers that didn’t listen very well, just so I could start calling the game from down on the sideline. But I’ve always thought it was easier to call a game from the press box because you can see more. You see everything and it’s a vantage point. For an example, on Fridays and Thursdays, that’s what I work on. I’m on the sideline working on seeing defense and seeing things going on because it is so much easier to see it from the press box.”

On wearing glasses during the games:

COACH PETRINO: “I don’t know. I might throw them away. We used to score more from the one-yard line when I didn’t have glasses.”


(On if it was fun to be playing again)

YOUNG: “Yeah, it was very fun. The game was a little stressful, but it ended up good.”

(On if he was nervous going into the game)

YOUNG: “I was nervous. There were a lot of thoughts running through my mind, but as soon as I stepped on the field and the first snap went off the nerves went away and it was just football.”

(On if there were any nerves when he took the first hit)

YOUNG: “No, like I said once I stepped on that field and the ball is snapped and the pads started clashing my mind was off the nerves and I was just focused on trying to make plays.”

(On the team atmosphere after the first game)

YOUNG: “Everybody was happy. We made a lot of mistakes and there’s a lot of stuff we can clean up, but a win is a win and we stuck together as a team and pulled that victory out. We felt good today.”

(On what he learned about his defensive teammates)

YOUNG: “We have a lot of resiliency. I thought our guys stuck together and stayed focused on the task and pulled out the win.”

(On how difficult it is to not know the opposing team’s quarterback)

YOUNG: “It’s tough when you don’t know which quarterback is going to be in and it’s hard to game plan for that. Our defensive coaches always give us a good game plan and as long as we follow that we’ll be okay.”

(On the emotion of getting his first sack)

YOUNG: “I think you could tell by my reaction that I was really happy.”

(On if the first sack was a sense of relief)

YOUNG: “Yeah, it was definitely a sense of relief just to get that first sack. It took a lot off my mind and it felt really good to get that.”

(On if he was able to learn from sitting out and watching)

YOUNG: “I think you learn a lot by sitting back and observing. Taking that whole year off I learned a lot as a player and a lot as a person. I feel like it was all for the best.”

(On if he’s back to where he was before getting hurt)

YOUNG: “I feel like I’m better than I was. As a football player, I’m stronger and I feel like I know the game of football a little better from sitting back and watching.”

(On working on his ball skills)

YOUNG: “Yeah, I don’t even want to talk about that. Definitely have to work on those ball skills, I won’t drop another one.”

(On if he got discouraged during his injury)

YOUNG: “It’s definitely tough sitting out and watching your teammates play. I feel like it made me a stronger person going through that. It was worth it.”

(On how the team responded to Jaire Alexander’s injury)

YOUNG: “It’s always tough when you lose a player like Jaire who’s a big part of our defense. As a defense, we rallied around each other and we had to stick together and not lose our composure. I think we did that.”

(On what he is better at from sitting out)

YOUNG: “I think knowing the game of football overall. Taking a year off, I feel like I was able to develop my upper body strength a lot. I feel like I don’t get pushed around as easy and I’m able to push guys around a little easier too.”

(On if it was different to have defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon upstairs instead of on the sideline)

YOUNG: “Yeah. When (former defensive coordinator Todd) Grantham was here he was down on the sideline, so it is a little different having the defensive coordinator up in the box. I feel like our coaches down on the field did a good job of keeping everyone focused and getting the play calls in. I think it all worked out.”


(On how his performance looked on film)

JACKSON: “I feel that I did a pretty good job trying to execute and doing what coach was telling me to follow along with the game plan.”

(On how he did against Purdue with his reads)

JACKSON: “I didn’t really do that well. Some reads I should have pulled that coach was telling me about. Some were 50-50 because they were doing a good job of clogging up the gaps.”

(On what makes Dez Fitzpatrick good)

JACKSON: “He can get open, he has great hands. Every catch was spectacular to me, awesome catches, great routes, great touchdown. He did great.”

(On if the passes to Dez were two of his better throws)

JACKSON: “I feel like I had a couple last year, like I always say the one to Jamari Staples. I think they were good for this year.”

(On if he feels more accurate this year)

JACKSON: “I think I’m just throwing the ball a lot more, letting it out like coach always says. I think I’m doing a good job at it.”

(On the false starts with the offensive line)

JACKSON: “It was Robbie’s (Bell) first game, he’s young. He’s going to learn, I still think he did a pretty good job. He just has to snap the ball.”

(On how difficult it is to throw the ball way)

JACKSON: “Knowing you don’t want to hear, ‘Stop taking sacks’. It’s just doing the right thing and doing what coach tells you.”

(On if he realized during the game he had not been sacked)

JACKSON: “I was just trying to get the ball out of my hand on time and trying to get it to easy targets and make positive plays instead of negative plays.”

(On if someone had to tell him that he did not take a sack)

JACKSON: “I thought about it.”

(On what he would like to see improve against North Carolina this week)

JACKSON: “Scoring points in the red zone. I think that killed us a lot. We did not do a good job at it. One goal for me was to be 100 percent and we did not do a good job at it. We kept getting out of the red zone with penalties and turnovers.”

(On if the turnover on the first series caused flashbacks from the end of last season)

JACKSON: “Last season is last season. I’m trying to win, that’s all that was on my mind. We have to win this game, we’re not going to lose.”

(On how it felt to get out and play)

JACKSON: “It’s nice to get our feet wet. I think we needed that game, it’s our opener. I think we did a pretty good job.”

(On what he knows about North Carolina’s defense)

JACKSON: “We haven’t watched film yet, we just got back. We’ll watch film tomorrow.”

(On seeing professional athletes like Michael Vick talking about him on social media)

JACKSON: “Michael Vick is my boy. I’m focused on this year, I don’t really care about the stuff on social media. It’s only the beginning of the season.”

(On how it feels when guys are talking about how well he is playing)

JACKSON: “I just thank them. I’m just trying to play ball.”

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

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