March 29, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Two weeks into spring practice, the University of Louisville football team continues to make strides under head coach Bobby Petrino and his entirely new coaching staff.
Petrino received a long look at his team during its approximately 140-play scrimmage on Saturday morning in the Trager Indoor Practice Facility.
The first major scrimmage of the spring, Petrino allowed the offense to start at a designated spot on the field and conduct a drive until they scored, turned the ball over on downs or turned the ball over.
"I thought we got a lot done today," Petrino said. "I was happy for the most part with the scrimmage. I thought it was very physical on both sides of the ball. We came out and worked hard. I was also happy with the way we conducted our business before the scrimmage, in the locker room, in the training room and in our clap session."
Big plays, on both sides of the football, was the focal point with Petrino following practice. Senior wide receiver Matt Milton, who saw minimal action last season, made at least three long plays in the pass game. He caught a 67-yard touchdown pass and also made another long reception before fumbling in the end zone. Senior wide receiver Robert Clark also had a long touchdown reception.
"On defense, I thought we gave up too many big plays," Petrino said. "But on the other side, you are happy to see the offense make big plays."
After eight spring practices, Petrino sees progress in his football team, but knows he still has a lot to teach this football team in the next six practices before the Red-White game on April 11.
"We still have a lot to clean up," Petrino said. "We are still making too any assignment errors. I would like to see the defense create a few more turnovers. But for the most part I thought we got a lot done."
One of the players who stood out was Milton, a transfer from Tennessee two years ago, but was regulated to a reserve role last season. At 6-foot-5, Milton gives the Cardinal a big, long wide receiver that can make plays after the catch, which is what happened in Saturday's scrimmage. He also made a few big plays last Saturday in the mini-scrimmage.
"I thought he did a good job running after the catch, but the one time he turned the ball over, which is unfortunate," Petrino said. "With his size and combination of speed, he can take a short throw and turn it into a long gain, which is a great thing for a quarterback."
Speaking of the quarterback position, the battle rages on with sophomore Will Gardner as the leader after eight practices, but Petrino likes the progress some of the other quarterbacks are making throughout the spring.
"Will has had a good week," Petrino said. "He has gotten better throughout the week. Wednesday was his best day of practice. He was really accurate and got the ball out quick. But it's competition. They keep competing. I thought (Brett) Nelson did a good job today. He made some nice throws and showed he can get the ball out on time. He might have gotten himself in the competition after he performed today."
The Cardinals will return to the practice field on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the Cardinals keep inching toward the spring game in two weeks.