March 19, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
For the University of Louisville football team, it's going to be a continual learning process. With two new coordinators, the Cardinals are trying to learn on the fly and understand new terminology and schemes.
As the Cardinals finished their second practice on Wednesday, the players are adjusting quickly to their new surroundings.
"We are trying to find new leaders," junior linebacker James Burgess said after practice. "We lost a lot of seniors. Everything is going well, but everything is going really fast. We are trying to pick things up."
Burgess, who is the team's top returning tackler with 75 stops, is excited about the new staff and the tempo of practice, but understands there is a sense of urgency to learn the new schemes, especially on defense.
"We are getting used to it," Burgess said. "We are learning, but I like the way we are coming together in the first couple of practices. We still have a lot to learn and we have to keep studying our playbooks."
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who is one of the most vocal coaches out on the practice field, has been working hard implementing a new scheme to a defense that returns just four starters.
However, after just two days on the field, Grantham likes what he sees thus far from his young unit.
"It's going well," Grantham said. "I like our energy and effort. You can tell they work at it. We just have to continue to work hard and get better every day. The key to spring is to evaluate the players you have and how you can make them defensively."
The Cardinals, who finished with the nation's best defense a year ago, but lost seven starters. However, Grantham is encouraged with the players he has this spring.
"We have good athletes," Grantham said. "These guys are working hard. You always fit your system with the players you have and we will do that as we move forward. The big thing right now is to evaluate guys and see what they can do,"
With just four starters returning, the Cardinals have lost a lot of leadership, and Grantham is looking for players to step up.
"I think there is an opportunity for guys out there to step up," Grantham said. "Anytime the players take ownership in the team, it is a good thing, but we have some guys who have stepped up and are being leaders."
The Cardinals will try to continue to speed up the learning process when they take the field for their third practice on Friday at 4 p.m., when they put full pads on for the first time this spring.