Daily Focus – Linebackers
The Cardinals took the field for their fourth practice of the spring and their second day in pads. The day started with the first part of practice geared towards fundamentals and group work before splitting off and working live tackling in the second half. The Inside Linebacker position will be a position where the Cardinals have a lot of depth in the 2018 season. One of the leaders on this Cardinal Defense will be 2017 Freshman All-American, Dorian Etheridge (Soph.), who started all 13 games in his first season with the Cards and led the team in tackles (83 total tackles). Another Individual who has stepped up this spring getting bigger, faster and stronger is C.J. Avery (Soph.) who appeared in 13 games as a true freshman in 2017 (25 total tackles) and is a former Under Armour All-American. The Cardinals also have senior leadership returning in 2018. Isaac Stewart (Career: 33 games played) and London Iakopo (Career: 17 games played) will both be counted on this season to continue producing. There are some new faces in this group, as well. Quandeski ‘Boosie’ Whitlow joined the Cards as a Divison I transfer last season. After sitting out the year, he looks to make an impact on defense in 2018. P.J. Blue is a former safety who will bring both athleticism and size (6’2” & 220lbs) to the LB core. Robert Hicks, an early enrollee from Miami Central HS (FL) who comes to Louisville as a former Under Armour All American, was ranked as the #136 prospect according to ESPN and #4 Linebacker in the Nation. Quen Head (Jr.), Kam Jones (r-Fr.) and Nick Okeke (r-Fr.) have all started out the spring strong and will continue to battle for more opportunities. There is a lot of talent and promise for this group heading into 2018. Iron Sharpens Iron and that will certainly hold true with this unit.
Coach Quote of the Day
“The guys came out with better energy and effort today. We have to be relentless every play and we need to start focusing more on the finer details of the new defensive scheme and building depth within the room. “
– Ryan Beard – Linebackers Coach
- #21 London Iakopo – 6’0 215 lbs. – Carson, CA – RS Senior
- #42 Isaac Stewart – 6’2 247 lbs. – Charlotte, NC – RS Senior
- #49 Quandeski ‘Boosie’ Whitlow – 6’3 214 lbs. – Opelika, AL – RS Junior
- #43 DJ Smith – 6’1 224 lbs. – Louisville, KY – RS Junior
- #15 Quen Head – 6’2 200 lbs. – Forsyth, GA – Junior
- #13 PJ Blue – 6’3 217 lbs. – Jemison, AL – RS Sophomore
- #9 CJ Avery – 5’11 213 lbs. – Grenada, MS – Sophomore
- #17 Dorian Etheridge – 6’3 233 lbs. – Charleston, WV – Sophomore
- #56 Kam Jones – 5’11 213 lbs. – Gwinnett, GA – RS Freshman
- #97 Nick Okeke – 6’3 252 lbs. – Smyrna, TN – RS Freshman
- #48 Colin Demetrakis – 5’9 207 lbs. – Union, KY – RS Freshman
- #19 Ori Jean-Charles – 6’1 213 lbs. – Monsey, NY – RS Freshman
- #51 Keon Johnson – 6’0 235 lbs. – Palm Beach Gardens, FL – RS Freshman
- #55 Isaac Martin – 6’1 247 lbs. – Louisville, KY – RS Freshman
- #5 Robert Hicks – 6’1 243 lbs. – Miami, FL – Freshman
Coach Petrino’s Practice Notes
Saturday’s full padded practice completed a solid first week for us. I feel like we accomplished a great deal. We were able to get a lot installed on Offense, Defense and Special Teams. The first hour of practice Saturday emphasized teaching technique, as well as, working in the Red Zone. We also had a Pods drill with the Offensive and Defensive Lines. Defensively it was about hand placement and shedding blocks. Offensively the focus was on pad level and finishing. We showed improvement on both sides of the ball as the drill went on.
The second half of practice was team, Offense vs. Defense, with live tackling. The number one Offense moved the ball and was able to run and throw the ball well, highlighted by the running of Trey Smith and Tobias Little. Jawon Pass did a good job of executing the offense and converting on 3rd downs. He threw two touchdown passes. On the Offensive front, it was great to see Tyler Haycraft step up and have a very good day, and at the Wide Receiver spot Seth Dawkins, Tutu Atwell and Emonee Spence were all very productive!
Defensively we need to do a better job in the testing part of practice. We need to carry over our technique from individual work to team drills. We did get some good Defensive Line play from Michael Boykin and Amonte Caban. Jarrett Jackson also showed his talent, he just needs to continue to improve his technique. PJ Blue really stood out running full speed to the football and tackling very well at the Linebacker spot. In the Secondary we saw some very good improvement from three young guys – Anthony Johnson, Kaheem Roach and Lyn Strange.
Standout Performers from Day 4
- Offensive Grinder – Offensive Lineman Tyler Haycraft
- Defensive Grinder – Defensive Lineman Amonte Caban
- Newcomer – Tight End Jeffrey Banks
- Offensive Showtime – Quarterback Jawon Pass
- Defensive Showtime – Linebacker PJ Blue
*Grinder = Gives all one’s got every day, influencing others’ work ethic in the process
*Showtime = The specific time to display or execute a performance of great magnitude.
Off the Field Highlights
Dorian Etheridge – Linebacker – Charleston, WV
Dorian will be entering his Sophomore season with the Cardinals at the Linebacker position. After earning Freshman All-American accolades in 2017 and starting all 13 games, he was the first true Freshman to lead the Defensive unit in tackles. A rivals 3-star prospect from the state of West Virginia Dorian’s major is currently undecided while he maintains a 3.3 GPA. He is also a Red & Black Scholar and a member of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
Seth Dawkins – Wide Receiver – Columbus, OH
Seth, a Junior, is returning starter at the Wide Receiver position who played in 12 games, including 10 starts. He closed the season with 42 receptions for 642 yards and 4 touchdowns. Seth has positioned himself to be an integral part of the offense in 2018, while also excelling in the classroom. A Sports Administration major, Seth maintains a 3.5 cumulative GPA and is a member of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and is a Red & Black Scholar.
Petrino Family Foundation Update
The “Love Louisville” campaign was started in the fall of 2017 by the Petrino Family Foundation. It’s mission is simple – “Spreading the Love in Louisville by building alliances, creating pride and inspiring compassion.” Check out the video that started it all and follow us on Facebook at Love Louisville Facebook Page
As always for more information on the Petrino Family Foundation please make sure you visit our website. www.petrinofamilyfoundation.org