The Sugar Bowl Champion Louisville Cardinals held their annual spring game this past Saturday in front of a Louisville record crowd of 33,000 fans at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. The Red team was fueled by a 27 point offensive explosion in the 2 qtr that included 2 rushing TD by junior Domonique Brown and 2 passing TD by junior QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Red team went on to defeat the White team 34-7 as the White team lone score came off of a 30 yard fumble recovery by senior LB George Durant on the defensive play of the game.
Despite the Heisman buzz surrounding Teddy Bridgewater don’t expect a media campaign from U of L. Soft spoken Teddy prefers to let his performance on the field speak for himself and to keep the focus on the team. Teddy completed 16 of 20 passes for 214 yards and 2 TD and yet gave himself a ‘C’ rating. “There’s always room for improvement,” Teddy explained to reporters after the game. “An ‘A’ is just doing everything right: footwork, being spaced out, throwing the ball on time, no incompletions. Just being perfect.” Teddy’s pursuit of perfection could lead him to better his 3700+ yards passing last season, a possible Heisman trophy and perhaps a shot at the national championship.
Junior Domonique Brown led the running attack in absence of senior Senorise Perry and sophomore Corvin Lamb with 79 yards on 9 carries 2 TD and caught 6 passes for 30 yards. He suffered a knee injury last August and sat out the season. He told reporters after the game Saturday that he wanted to play in the Sugar Bowl so badly that he would have been willing to waive his redshirt and give up a year of eligibility just to play in that one game. Brown showed improved burst through the hole, quicker feet and showed signs of being more than just a power back. Redshirt freshman Brendon Radcliff gained 56 yards on 5 carries.
Junior DeVante Parker hauled in 4 receptions for 102 yards, 44 yard long, and a TD. Parker led this deep and talented group of receivers with 10 TD last season and Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson says he is ready to go to the next level.
Teddy should once again have ample targets which will include the TE playing a big roll as well. Watson said Teddy will be backed up by freshman Will Gardner who he said has taken a step ahead of everybody else. Will went 10-16 for 85 yards and 1 TD.
6 defensive lineman missed the game but junior Lorenzo Mauldin looked unstoppable with 5 tackles, 2 sacks and 2.5 TFL. You can expect to see 8 players across the front which is a rarity for Louisville. With multiple players out on both the DL and LB positions it is hard to tell how good the defense will be but they should be deep at both of these positions.
Sophomore Jermaine Reve looks to be the front runner to replace All Big East cornerback Adrian Bushell, the only defensive starter lost from last season. Reve showed his versatility last season when he played 4 positions in 1 game. Junior DB Calvin Pryor has made it clear that he expects to enter the NFL draft at the end of the season so developing players at the safety position will be a key point of emphasis.
The 2 biggest questions going into next season will be depth on the OL and special teams play. Louisville will kickoff their season August 31 in PJCS against Ohio. They are poised to start the season ranked in the top 10 and should be favored in all of their games playing next season in The American Conference before joining the ACC in 2014. ESPN College Football Live stopped in Louisville on Monday and broke down the Cards chances of winning the national championship and Teddy Heisman campaign. Louisville worked hard to improve their schedule after the Sugar Bowl victory but negotiations with programs like Texas A&M and Wisconsin among others fell through.
“It was electric in here,” Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said after the game. “It was great for our players. They know this: They’ve got this city behind them, they have all the fans behind them and they enjoyed it.”