Aug. 20, 2012
Shawn ~nbsp>Watson | Mario ~nbsp>Benavides | Will ~nbsp>Stein | Daniel ~nbsp>Brown
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -Although the University of Louisville football team broke camp on Saturday and the depth chart has started to take shape, the Cardinals are still looking for a number of answers with just 13 days before the opener versus Kentucky on Sept. 2 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
One position still looking for a leader to carry a bulk of the load is running back, where there is equal talent, but no clear cut favorite. That isn't a knock on the position, but a testament to the talent at that spot.
"It's really hard to separate the three at that position," said offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. "One day, one of the running backs will have a big day, then another guy will come back the following day and have a better day. All three guys (Dominique Brown, Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry) are going to play, but we are going to run one guy in a major role."
Brown returns as the Cardinals' leading rusher from a year ago, while Wright and Perry also saw action at that position. The Cardinals' coaching staff is also high on redshirt freshman Corvin Lamb and true freshman Brandon Radcliff.
Brown carried a lot of the load last year, going for 533 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, after making the transition from quarterback. His breakout game came against Kentucky in a 24-17 win at Commonwealth, when he ran for a career-best 91 yards. Wright has been consistent for the last two years and Perry is starting to come into his own.
"I'm lucky to have all three of these guys in the backfield," said running backs coach Kenny Carter. "All the guys are capable and we can ride any of them at any time. I've been very pleased with everyone's ability to do all the things needed at that position."
Watson is pleased where the offense is after 19 practices, but knows there is plenty room for improvement.
"I think we are playing clean football right now," said Watson, who enters his first full season as the offensive coordinator. "I'm pleased with the progress we have made, but there are things we need to clean up. We have to quit the procedure penalties and guys need to play more with their eyes, especially the young players. But overall, they have practiced every day and come out with a great attitude. I'm very happy with their focus and intensity."
One player pleased with the direction the offense is headed is senior center Mario Benavides, who has started 34 games at that position.
"I think we are good at this point of time, but we have a long way to go," said Benavides. "As an offensive line, we are ahead of where we were at this time last year, especially for me because I was in the hospital. I'm definitely ahead of schedule compared to where I was last year. I'm not happy with where we are at, but I am happy with the direction we are headed."