Coaches pleased with U of L football scrimmage - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Coaches pleased with U of L football scrimmage

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.- The University of Louisville football team conducted 157-play scrimmage on Saturday morning in front of about 1,500 fans at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Head coach Bobby Petrino pit the first units against each other during the first portion of the scrimmage before changing the match-ups during the second part of the scrimmage.

"I think we got a lot done today, a lot accomplished," Petrino said. "We certainly have a long way to go, but I think we're starting to see some things that we really like. I think we're picking up technically. I think we made some mental mistakes that we certainly need to fix.

"Some of today is not just about how we do out in the scrimmage. We try to go through a game day, so we go through how we go to the training room, how we go to the locker room. So I think that we got a lot done."

Senior Jake Smith, who started at guard, thought Saturday's scrimmage was a good way to end the first two weeks of camp under Petrino.

"I think today really capped off what was a serious grind the last two weeks," Smith said. "I was pleased personally with the effort of the team. I think the coaches were pleased with the effort. That's been a huge emphasis this fall. I think guys went out and grinded through it. Everyone was tired, bodies were sore and the biggest thing was just grinding through it."

Sophomore quarterback Will Gardner led the first group for most of the scrimmage and showed progress in his game and the knowledge of the offense. He tossed a touchdown on a fourth-down play to Eli Rogers.

True freshman Reggie Bonnafon displayed his potential with his work with the second-team offense. He raced out to a hot start throwing the football and did toss a 65-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Matt Milton.

"It was a great throw," Petrino said. "I thought it was a nice job by Milton. He ran exactly the way we want him to. He ran right up the sideline, showed his speed and caught the ball. We tried to throw the ball deep a number of times on the day and that was certainly the best one."

Overall, Petrino was pleased with the play of both his quarterbacks, but with two weeks to go before the opener versus Miami, he understands they can both get better.

"I think they (quarterbacks) really showed that they can play the game," Petrino said. "We have to be more consistent. We made some mistakes, we made some protection issues and we didn't see certain blitzes coming at times. But when we had things right, they can both set their feet, they both can make throws."

While most of the focus was placed on the offensive side of the ball, the defense looked fast and physical on Saturday.

"We all did really well," junior linebacker James Burgess said. "Offense did great, defense is communicating a lot more. Our offense is coming together real fast. So I can't tell you who won, but we all did really well today."

Burgess has seen a lot of development in the defense this year despite losing seven starters on the nation's top defense from last season.

"I feel like we're light years ahead of where we were as far as communication, getting everybody set, and everybody knowing what to do, understanding the plays, everybody flying to the ball," Burgess said.

The defense did a good job of eliminating the big play, except for the long pass to Milton from Bonnafon. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham put a new defense in during the spring and it took a while for the players to get an understanding of the new schemes.

"We're ahead of where we were in spring," Burgess said. "I can tell you that. I went back last night and watched all of our spring and we're way ahead of where we were. I think we're better at safety and better at the end position. It's always hard to really understand how the defense does until you watch the film because I'm trying to beat them."

The Cardinals will return to the practice field on Monday at 3:15 p.m.