Fans flock to football’s spring game

By on April 17, 2012

By Chelsea Allen–

“Get on the train, or get out of the way.” Spoken last season as preparation for what was to come of the Louisville football program, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford’s words will continue to ring true as the motto for the upcoming season.

A reported 15,000 fans came out to fill in the faded seats in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium amidst scattered showers and gloomy skies for the first glimpse at the 2012 Cardinal football team Saturday afternoon.

“Now we’re taking a step to get this program headed back in the right direction,” said Head Coach Charlie Strong of the turnout. “This community wants a winner.”

The team was divided into the first-team offense, led by sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, against the second-team offense, led by senior quarterback Will Stein. Given 21 points to start, the second team came up short to the first team, 28-24, after four quarters. The second team scored three points with a 52-yard field goal from redshirt freshman John Wallace. Bridgewater finished a stellar 19-for-21 for 257 yards and three touchdowns.

“Teddy Bridgewater continues to improve and he made some really outstanding throws out there today,” said Strong of the returning quarterback and Big East Rookie of the Year of the 2011 season.

“The thing about him is he is so easy to coach,” said Strong. “A lot of times with guys that have had success so early, they get so full of themselves that they don’t want to listen, whereas with Teddy, he’s in the film room.”

There is not much more you could ask for from the quarterback’s outstanding performance on Saturday. Coach Strong is not the only one commending the quarterback for his diligence and humility.

‘’Teddy Bridgewater deserves to be the face of this team, really, because he is a remarkable athlete,’’ said sophomore defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin. “[He] is, as they say, ‘Houdini.’ When I run after him, I know I’m not going to catch him.”

“Teddy’s just cool, calm and collected,” added junior running back Senorise Perry.

But Bridgewater was not the only player receiving praises for outstanding performances.

“Senorise Perry probably had the best spring,” Strong said of the running back.

Devante Parker, who scored the first touchdown receiving from Bridgewater, will be a reliable source in the end zone.

“He’s just one of those guys who can change the game, and he has a lot of big play potential in him,” said Bridgewater of Parker.

Over the sound of all the applause, Bridgewater still shows humility and maturity in analyzing the game.

“We’re still a work in progress. Even though spring ball is over, throughout the summer training we’re still going to try to get better,” said Bridgewater. His coach agrees.

“A lot’s going to be said about this team, a lot’s going to be written about this team,” said Strong, now in his third season at Louisville. The Cards were picked to finish last in the Big East last season.

Instead, Louisville stunned with a three-way share of the Big East title and is now picked to finish in the top this season.

“No one would expect us to be where we are right now. People said you couldn’t get it done; now we’ll see if we can do it.”

During the game, two offensive linemen suffered injuries. Senior Alex Kupper injured his left knee and was taken for an MRI. Freshman Ryan Mack also injured a knee and did not return to the game. Both injuries have since been ruled as not serious and should recover.

The Cards open their 2012 season against rival Kentucky on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m., televised nationally on ESPN.

shill@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinalv

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