April 1, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- While most high school kids are getting ready to graduate and celebrate their proms, freshman running back L.J. Scott is going through spring practice at the University of Louisville and not senior chemistry or algebra.
A product of Marion High School in Marion, Ohio, Scott enrolled at Louisville in January and just completed his ninth practice with the Cardinals.
While most freshmen are trying to learn their way and get acclimated to the college game, Scott has jumped in and impressed the coaching staff with his hard-running style and maturity.
"L.J. has been impressive," head coach Bobby Petrino said. "I like that he is willing to learn and how hard he runs the football. I also like how mature he is and how he gets right in there every time."
Through the first couple weeks of practice, Smith has showed that he is ready for the college game. He is making good reads in the hole and has shown an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Scott was committed to Charlie Strong before he left for Texas, but Scott remained committed with the Cardinals, and it looks like it's a good move because Scott is definitely in the mix.
"At first, I was a little surprised," Scott said. "I knew when the new coaching staff came here every coaching staff was on the same level playing field so I just used that to my advantage. I worked extra hard in the weight room; learned my playbook; called Coach Kolby Smith and just learned the offense."
Scott is the prototypical Bobby Petrino running back. The fifth-year head coach has always had big, strong running backs in his stable, and Scott definitely fits that mold.
At 225 pounds, Scott runs hard and through people, and will be the big back that Petrino likes to use in the fourth quarter to wear out opposing defenses.
"From what I've heard and what I've seen in practice, coach Petrino likes to run the football," Scott said. "I think I add a lot of versatility to the offense because of my size. I can play both the fullback and tailback positions."
Petrino's offense is one of the most dynamic and complicated offenses in the country. However, Scott hasn't been fazed by the complexity of the offense and the college game.
"It's a very demanding offense," Scott said. "I wouldn't say it's hard, but it's demanding. He asks a lot from you. He isn't asking too much, he is just pushing you. The first meeting we had with him, he told us we are training you to be a professional. If you have any aspirations of going to the next level, he is the perfect coach for you."
Assistant coach Kolby Smith, who played for the Cardinals from 2003-06, returns to his alma mater and has the opportunity to develop this true freshman. Smith was one of the most competitive and versatile players when he put the pads on for Petrino, and Smith sees the same qualities in Scott.
"I've been impressed with his competiveness," Smith said. "I like that he understands with a new coaching staff that he has a chance to compete for playing time."
Scott has opened the eyes of the coaching staff this spring and will definitely be out on the field when the Cardinals open the season and ACC play on Sept. 1. He has definitely shown that he belongs.