LOUISVILLE, Ky.The long wait is over for University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino. After seven months on the job, Petrino is set to begin his second stint with the Cardinals on Tuesday morning, when the newcomers hit the field at 8:50 a.m.
Petrino will hold a pair of practices tomorrow, with the rookies hitting the field first, followed by the veterans at 4:20 p.m.
The Cardinals begin a 29-practice stretch in preparation for the Sept. 1 ACC opener against Miami at 8 p.m. on ESPN in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
"We are coming off a good testing week," Petrino said. "The guys are at the weights we want them at and a lot of guys have done a good job of getting down to the weight we want them to play."
As camp begins, the fifth under Petrino in two different stints, there are some interesting positions that will play out over the next couple of weeks.
One of the most publicized that will take place will be at the quarterback position. Sophomore Will Gardner is the front runner, but will be pushed in practice.
"I was very impressed with what Will (Gardner) did in the spring," Petrino said. "He made strides there and showed the leadership that is needed at that position."
Even though Gardner is pretty green, there isn't anyone with game experience behind him, so Petrino needs to take a long look at the back-up position.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the competition behind Will and Reggie Bonnafon coming in as a true freshman," he said. "I want to see how much he will compete for the job and that will be fun to see how that works out."
"He's had a great summer," Petrino said. "He's an amazing athlete. When you look at his measureables, like he has a 36 and a half inch vertical. He's strong and he's smart. Now, we just want to see how he gets into it."
After a spring, where Petrino was missing a lot of key components due to injury, the Cardinals are relatively healthy heading into the start of practice. Petrino said the only player who is expected to miss fall camp is junior Jermaine Reve, who had knee surgery in the spring.
"We're pretty healthy going in," Petrino said. "We feel like we are as healthy as we have been."
Petrino takes over a team that was 23-3 over the last two seasons, but did lose some key components, which included first-round draft picks in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, safety Calvin Pryor, and defensive end Marcus Smith.
"I compare it to when I was here the first time and was coming off a team that was coached by John L. Smith," said Petrino, who improved that 7-6 squad to 9-4 in his rookie year. "(They're) a group of guys that know how to work hard and have positive attitudes and are used to winning games."
Petrino added, "That's really made the transition easy for our staff because the guys really have a good work ethic. ... The quicker that we get over that there's a change and just adapt to it, the better chance we have to be a championship team. I've been really impressed with our attitudes."
The Cardinals will be in shorts and helmets until Friday before putting full pads on for the first time on Saturday. Practices will be open to the public.