With the University of Louisville football team's 2014 season-opener against Miami now just a weekend away, head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff are in the process of making final adjustments before the Cardinals take the field on Monday night.
With players, coaches, fans, and media eager to get the season rolling, Petrino spent time talking about the game day routine when speaking to the media after Friday's practice.
The Cardinals will hit the practice field Saturday and Sunday before meeting the Hurricanes inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium at 8 p.m. on Monday night.
"It takes a long time to get ready for that game," Petrino said Friday of the late kickoff time. "We'll let them sleep in a little longer than usual. We'll get up, have a brunch, then we'll go to one of the local high schools and do a walk-through, have a special teams meeting and then let them relax."
"(We will) try to get there four hours before the game and do your normal pre-game meal and get ready to come to the stadium. It's the longest day ever waiting for an eight o'clock game."
Once at the stadium, the Cardinals will resurrect the once beloved Card March. The team's pre-game walk into the stadium was a Petrino staple and fan favorite during his first stint at the school from 2003 until 2006.
"We'll do the Card March like we did before," Petrino said. "We'll get dropped off at the far end of the stadium and come down underneath the tunnel and into the stadium. I make sure that'll be exciting. I'm sure it'll be a great atmosphere. There's a lot of energy for it."
Outside of addressing the team's logistical plan for game day, Petrino also used Friday's media session to discuss the benefits that playing on a Monday night on national television will offer the program.
Invariably, there are problems concerning focus that can arise for team's kicking off the season in the national spotlight, but Petrino is no stranger to handling such situations. In his first stint at Louisville and during his time at Arkansas, Petrino faced marquee teams in primetime slots with regularity.
"I think that's what you look for. What you really want is to be able to play in games like this," Petrino said before referencing Louisville's 2006 Thursday night home win over then-third-ranked West Virginia.
Aside from Petrino, the Louisville football team is loaded with players having big-game experience. Several players are still on the roster who played in the team's 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Florida, as well as last season's Russell Athletic Bowl victory.
"You just focus on your preparation," Petrino said. "Go through the process and do things right each day. I think we're fortunate that we have a lot of players who are very experienced. They've played in big games, have played in BCS bowl games."
Like most teams in college football, Louisville ended their fall camp with several injuries. The most notable being the foot injury sustained last Friday by standout wide receiver DeVante Parker.
Parker, who is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks, was expected to be the Cardinals' biggest offensive weapon this season. As a junior in 2013, Parker caught 55 passes for a team-high 885 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Without him, the Cardinals will need several members of the receiving corps to pick up the slack.
"It's always hard when you lose a really good players, and certainly DeVante is that way. Like I said earlier, you're not going to have one guy replace his production."
For Petrino, the absence of Parker will sting, but the coach sees it as an opportunity for creativity in play-calling and for other players to make waves.
"We have to do it with a number of guys. I feel like we're very lucky that we have guys with a lot of experience, guys that have made plays, a good group of tight ends, and depth at running back. It helps you spread the wealth around a little bit. Guys are excited to see their number get called."
Petrino also addressed the situation of senior running back Michael Dyer, who has been nursing an injured quad. Dyer has been designated as questionable for Monday's game, but Petrino said Dyer looks "a little more doubtful each day."
The Hurricanes will start the game Monday with the depth chart's third quarterback in true freshman Brad Kaaya. Kaaya was pushed into the starting role after an injury to senior Ryan Williams and the suspension of redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen.
Facing a quarterback without college film can be a challenge in pre-game preparation. Petrino was asked about how he and his staff have prepared for the mystery quarterback on Friday night.
"Really all we did was watch his high school video. We saw the different talents that he has, he's a guy that can really throw the ball," Petrino said.
"We just have to go out an play our game, do the things we need to do. We need to know what to do defensively and put some pressure on him, make him adjust to our defense."