Winds in the east, mist coming in.  Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin.  Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, But I fear what’s to happen all happened before………..  – Mary Poppins 1964 “Chim Chim Cher-ee” 

Freshman & Sophmores Everywhere

In 2011, Louisville was replacing a veteran team and was inserting a TON of freshman & sophomores into its lineup EARLY in the season to actually PLAY and contribute:

Freshman:  Teddy Bridgewater, DeVante Parker, Jake Smith, John Miller, Michaelee Harris, Eli Rogers, Corvin Lamb, Andrew Johnson,  Deiontrez Mount, Terell Floyd, Calvin Pryor, Lorenzo Mauldin, BJ Dubose, and Grant Donovan.

Sophomores: Brandon Dunn, Preston Brown, Roy Philon, Hakeem Smith, Marcus Smith, Senorise Perry, George Durant, BJ Butler, Kamran Joyer.

Many other freshman and sophomores in 2011 would later come on to contribute in 2012 but were not counted on as heavily in 2011.  Charles Gaines, Kai De La Cruz, Damian Copeland, Chris Acosta, Ryan Mack, Jermaine Reve, John Wallace, to name a few.

On Saturday vs. Auburn Louisville got major contributions from the following freshman & sophomores:

Freshman:  Micky Crum, Kenny Thomas, Lukayus McNeil, Geron Christian, Lamar Jackson, Traveon Samuel, Jaire Alexander, Jaylen Smith, Devante Peete,

Sophomores:  Reggie Bonnafon, L.J. Scott, Trumaine Washington, Chucky Williams, Shaq Wiggins, Zykiesis Canon, Stacy Thomas, Jeremy Smith, Skylar Lacy, Charles Standberry, Dontez Byrd, Kyle Shortridge, James Hearns.

There are certainly more players in the freshman & sophomore group that will also factor as the season moves forward as well.  Terrence Ross (injured), Johnny Richardson (injured), Cornelius Sturghill, Isaac Stewart, Emonee Spence…and perhaps a handful of others will make impacts regularly during the 2015 season.

Winning Culture Didn’t Exist in 2011

One thing that didn’t exist in 2011 that exists now in 2015:  A Winning Culture.  Prior to 2011 Louisville was THRILLED with a 7-6 finish during the 2010 season with a win over Southern Miss in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.  Cardinal fans FLOCKED to St. Peterburg for the 1st bowl game since the 2006 season in 2010.

Things have changed a bit.  Louisville from 2012 through 2014 won 32 games in 3 seasons.  32-7 or 82%.   That winning culture may prevent some of the LOW moments that occurred with the 2011 youth movement:  A 24-17 loss to FIU, a 17-13 loss to Marshall, a 14-7 loss to North Carolina, and blowing a 4th Quarter lead to Cincinnati and losing 25-16.  Eventually the Cards reeled off wins in 5 of its last 6 games in the regular season and built the foundation for 2012-14.  There were struggles early but great success late including a 38-35 win over #24 West Virginia on the road where Charlie Strong “crowd surfed the locker room” in celebration.  The only slip until the bowl was the famous loss to Pitt in which Coach Strong dubbed “The Call to the Dooty” in response to the team’s jubilation over the release of a video game.  The Cards did lose its bowl, to a veteran NC State team 31-24 in the Belk Bowl.

Teddy Bridgewater Threw an INT in his First Game on First Pass

Immediately after Lamar Jackson’s INT this fact made its way through social media: “Teddy Bridgewater threw an interception on his 1st pass too”.   Teddy’s INT was a little less dramatic, following Spring Ball Teddy failed to beat Will Stein out for the starting Quarterback position in the Fall and the Cards struggled to beat FCS Murray State 21-9.

Teddy’s 1st pass was intercepted by Murray State’s Darrell Davis 15-yards down the field and returned for no gain at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.  Teddy’s first possession was actually kind of a disaster all around.  Two false starts by Hector Hernandez followed by a delay of game by Teddy and after two Jeremy Wright rushes Bridgewater threw the INT in what was his first ever pass.

Lamar Jackson’s first pass was intercepted in the Georgia Dome by the highly regarded (and likely future NFLer Tray Matthews) on a 36-yard pass with a 35-yard return.  There were no previous snaps.

Lamar Jackson is FAR from Teddy Bridgewater at this point so for this moment the comparison between the two players stops here.   Can Bobby Petrino bring out the star in Lamar Jackson to the level of Teddy Bridgewater?  Absolutely, but there is a long road and they are two different types of players at this point with varying levels of skills as freshman.  For now, let’s just enjoy the coincidence.

Building Towards the Future

It’s just one game, but Louisville relied on a great number of youngsters vs. Auburn.  More than we expected on this site. In fact, Bobby Petrino could have easily chosen to start any 1 of the 5 JUCO Offensive lineman that the staff brought in (none started) as well as gone with more experienced players vs. Auburn to limited the nerves and slowly implement the youth movement throughout the course of the season and still would have been able to win games.  Instead, Petrino is getting things started NOW and is putting young players in pressure situations and allowing those players to settle in over the course of a game.

There are no ‘moral victories’ in sports.  But the decisions Petrino has been making are about building a national championship level team.  Lamar Jackson’s play-making ability, Jaylen Smith’s size & athleticism, Devante Peete’s blocking of an ALL-SEC Corner, Geron Christian playing the most difficult position on the offensive line, Traveon Samuel sparking the offense when it needed a lift are all examples of TRUE Freshman making an impact in a neutral site game vs. #6 Auburn in a game the Cards lost by 7.

We can talk all we want about the 1st play, the false starts in the red zone, the fumble scoop & score.  Bottom line, Louisville lost the game.  But it did so with a great deal of exposure in the green part of its roster.  There may be growing pains like in 2011, but the investment is worth the reward (2012-14).  My bet is that Louisville Football has a season similar to last year with fewer questions & more excitement heading into 2016.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the Cards have a league to win.  Louisville has one non-league test to find itself on the winning side on Saturday vs. Houston.  Hopefully the fans come out the see the future of Louisville Football on offense and one incredible defense.  My guess is that Louisville fans can’t wait.

Winds in the east, mist coming in.  Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin.  Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, But I fear what’s to happen all happened before………..  – Mary Poppins 1964 “Chim Chim Cher-ee” 

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

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