By Annie Moore
The University of Louisville held its annual Red and White Scrimmage April 11 to showcase the team’s preparation in the spring. The offense, headlined by quarterback Will Gardner, and the defense led by veterans like junior linebacker James Burgess were on display, as were new head coach Bobby Petrino’s new system.
Coach Petrino was happy with what he saw from the team, and admitted there is much room for improvement before the season.
“We have a long way to go, but our coaches have done a great job at teaching our new schemes, and the players have worked really hard at learning them,” Petrino said. “We’ve had some great competition in practice. The practices have been really physical and guys are really competing. I feel really good about our front seven on defense. Our linebackers are physical and fast and are going to be able to play the way we want them to play. We are a little bit concerned with our depth in the secondary and the inexperience at safety. That’s an area where we have to continue to work hard and get better.”
The Red Team, led by Gardner, routed the White Team, 56-13. Gardner was 32- of 37 for 542 yards and four touchdowns.
“We had good pass protection and guys getting wide open, and when guys are wide open, you can’t miss them. We had a lot of guys open when we called plays for them, so that was a good thing,” Gardner said.
Gardner too admitted that there was much work to be done in the time between now and kickoff in September.
“I’ve got to grind in the playbook, become more confident, hit the weight room hard and just get bigger and stronger.” Gardner said.
Michael Dyer rushed for 99 yards on 10 carries for the Red, and added 51 yards and a 27-yard touchdown on four carries for the White.
The biggest search now will be for a player to step out as the leader for a team heading into its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“You always worry about leadership, but this team has a terrific work ethic,” Petrino said. “They grind in the weight room and really get after it at practice. They understand that everything is different, but have been very willing to adapt. We have good leadership and guys who know what it takes to win games, and that has made the transition a lot easier.”
But with regards to the head coach’s overall feeling heading out of the game, he’s confident in his QB and ready to improve in other spots around the ball.
“You couldn’t leave a spring game happier with the way [Gardner] played,” Petrino said. “I was happy with our spring. I think we’re headed in the right direction, but we do have a long, long way to go.”