Daily Focus – Running Backs
The Cards wrapped up Spring Practice #5 under the lights in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Tuesday. In the early practices the Cards have looked to be placing emphasis on the ground game. So, what better group to highlight than the Running Backs. Although, the Cards have to replace Senior RB’s from 2017 they return some talented young RB’s who are up for the challenge. Trey Smith and Tobias Little have been impressive so far at the start of the Spring. Both backs also impressed with multiple PR’s in the winter testing season. They have also been joined by Offensive newcomer Malik Staples who moved over to Running Back from the Linebacker position this past off-season. Staples recorded the biggest squat testing number this past winter breaking the 600 lb. barrier. Big backs Dae Williams and Colin Wilson saw solid testing numbers this winter and will look to take their experience from 2017 and improve on their production as big backs in the Coach Petrino Offense. Harry Trotter saw the field in a Special Teams role last season and he will also look to bring some competition to the Running Back meeting room. This is a versatile group that will look to make a big impact for the Cardinals in the 2018 season!! We can all expect big plays and increased production from this group next year!
Coach Quote of the Day
“I am really excited about working with this group of backs. The “Want To” is where it needs to be. I like the production and development thus far. We have to continue getting better at the details of the game and understanding situational football.”
– Kolby Smith Running Back Coach
- #12 Trey Smith – 6’0 220 lbs. – Madison, MS – RS Junior
- #23 Harry Trotter – 5’11 203 lbs. – Atchison, KS – Junior
- #31 Malik Staples – 6’1 225 lbs. – Suwanee, GA – Junior
- #49 Tobias Little – 6’0 248 lbs. – Atlanta, GA – RS Sophomore
- #25 Dae Williams – 6’1 228 lbs. – Sapulpa, OK – RS Sophomore
- #36 Maurice Burkley – 5’10 200 lbs. – Naperville, IL – RS Sophomore
- #39 Taven Graves – 5’6 177 lbs. – Rineyville, KY – RS Sophomore
- #38 Vince Lococo – 6’0 219 lbs. – Louisville, KY – RS Sophomore
- #43 Jovan Smith – 5’10 205 lbs. – Louisville, KY – RS Freshman
- #33 Colin Wilson – 6’1 231 lbs. – Green Cove Spring, FL – RS Freshman
Coach Petrino’s Practice Notes
We started the 2nd week of Spring Ball with a good, hard, physical practice. In the Inside Run period the Defensive Line used their hands the best they have all spring and the Linebackers did a good job of playing their gap responsibilities. Offensively, it was good to see Linwood Foy do well using his technique at the point of attack, as well as on his back side blocks.
Jawon Pass was accurate in the Blitz period, which led to good Offensive execution and efficiency. The Offensive Line did a good job in their communication, allowing Jawon to keep his focus and eyes down the field, which allowed him to utilize his “Hot” Receivers. The Defense installed new fronts and pressures. They will be very good to us once we get the speed and timing down.
Special Teams should be one of our strengths this year with all of the specialists returning and our improved length and speed across the board. We worked hard yesterday on Punt and Punt return and we continue to get better every day.
In the team work periods, we worked Run/Play Action on 1st & 2nd Downs with an emphasis 3rd Down situations. In Run/Play Action we were trying to push the ball down the field to our Wide Receivers, it was good to see Corey Reed get involved and make some plays. In 3rd down, our timing was good and Jawon was accurate with his passes. However, we had three drops by the Wide Receivers which certainly can’t happen on 3rd Down. The Offensive Line did a good job of playing with low hats in the Play Action game and sustaining their blocks in the run game.
Defensively, our Safeties did a much better job of recognizing Run/Play Action. I really like the leadership Dee Smith is giving us in the back end. In 3rd Down, we still need to understand where the sticks are and how to defend the Down & Distance. Tabarius Peterson, Boosie Whitlow, Jonathan Greenard and Gary McCrae provided some really good speed rushes and gave great effort to finish out the practice.
Standout Performers from Day 5
- Offensive Grinder – Wide Receiver Corey Reed
- Defensive Grinder – Defensive Lineman Gary McCrae
- Newcomer – Defensive Lineman Jarett Jackson
- Offensive Showtime – Quarterback Jawon Pass
- Defensive Showtime – Defensive Back Anthony Johnson
*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
In our “Off the Field” section today, we are focusing on who is behind the scenes to help keep our football program running smoothly. Two long-time Cardinal administrative assistants, Denise Murphy and Robyn Mattingly play an integral part in working with the coaching staff and student-athletes.
Denise has been with the Cardinal football program since 1988. She began as a work study student while studying fine arts at U of L. She worked her way up the ranks through reception, recruiting and eventually landing as the head coach’s assistant in 1995. Having worked for Coaches Howard Schnellenber, Ron Cooper, John L. Smith, Steve Kragthorpe, Charlie Strong and Bobby Petrino (twice), Denise has experience in all aspects of our football program and works hard to coordinate the head coach’s office/schedule, booster and alumni events and anything else that needs attention. She is a team player and eager to help do what is necessary for the Cardinals to be successful both on and off the field. Side note: Denise has a dog named Berger after Coach Schnellenberger!
“Ms. Denise was there for Mason King and I when we were going through the process of being placed on scholarship. I remember her always responding to texts and call right away. She always has a smile on her face and has been really helpful with anything I’ve needed for the past three years,” Blanton Creque, Junior Kicker.
Robyn Mattingly has been with our football program since 2004. She has been instrumental in working with the staff primarily in recruiting, but her responsibilities have evolved over the years and she now handles much of the administrative portion of incoming and current student-athletes. She is often considered “football mom” to many of the players in our program due to getting to know them and their parents through the recruiting process. She plays a vital role in their transition to college life. Robyn is currently doing graduate work at U of L while keeping up with the activities of three young daughters – Stiles (10) and twins Brynlee and Brystol (9).
“Ms. Robyn is someone who can help you with anything. Ever since coming in my freshman year she has helped me with anything I need with no questions asked. Even when you don’t need anything, going upstairs to talk to her brightens your day. She is a mother away from home that every football player needs,” G.G. Robinson, RS Junior Defensive Lineman.
Petrino Family Foundation Update
After revealing the new #LoveLouisville campaign video last Fall, it quickly went viral in our local community. Being shared and viewed thousands of times. When students and staff from a local elementary school saw it, they were inspired to get their school, Lowe Elementary, involved. Luckily a teacher at the school had a contact with the Petrino Family Foundation. After a meeting with the Principle and teachers, the first #LoveLouisville Kindness Workshop was planned. Held on the perfect day to speak about love and kindness, February 14th aka Valentines Day, Petrino Family Foundation Executive Director, Kelsey Petrino Scott, along with Deputy Director, Katie Petrino Beard, 4 members of the UofL football team, 4 UofL track and field female athletes, and members of the Fund for the Arts, meet at Lowe Elementary for an hour long assembly addressing the importance of being kind and helping each other. The first, of hopefully many, #LoveLouisville Kindness Workshops.
As always for more information on the Petrino Family Foundation please make sure you visit our website. www.petrinofamilyfoundation.org