Cardinal Football

Reggie Bonnafon Will Start On Friday; Gardner’s Availability Unknown

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

True freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon will make his second career start on Friday evening when Louisville takes on the Syracuse Orange in the Carrier Dome. Bobby Petrino announced the news of Bonnafon starting on the Atlantic Coast Conference weekly coaches teleconference on Wednesday morning.

When asked about the status of Will Gardner, Petrino stated the his initial starting quarterback may be available on Friday, but Bonnafon would get the start.

Gardner has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in week four against Florida International. He returned to practice earlier this week, but is still be held out of contact drills and Petrino says they’re still unsure if he’ll be available on Friday evening.

Bonnafon had his fair share of mistakes in his debut against Wake Forest, but he definitely progressed as the game went on. All things considered, Petrino seemed pleased with the true freshman’s performance and how he’s responded since Saturday.

“He did show his competitive spirit and I really liked his poise,” Petrino said earlier in the week. “I thought his poise was good. Obviously we weren’t executing and moving the ball like we would like to, but we kept approaching it once series at a time. He did a really nice job. He showed a lot of maturity.”

Friday Evening Could Be A Defining Moment For The 2014 Louisville Football Season

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Maybe it’s just me, but I think Friday’s game at Syracuse is a bigger one that most fans realize. Cuse is down, but for the first time in a few weeks, this is a game that Louisville could actually lose.

Even with poor performances against FIU and Wake Forest, Louisville still was able to win without a lot of trouble. I don’t think that can happen on Friday night,

If the Cards play at the same level they did on Saturday against Wake Forest, I seriously don’t see how they win at the Carrier Dome.

I hate to overreact, but the offense has regressed over the past two weeks and Friday will be a huge test. The Cards have an opportunity to take a huge step in the right direction and get their first conference road win. On the other hand, if they lose, we’ll be looking at a team that is 3-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play. From there, we’d need to take a serious look in the mirror and question how good this team can really be.

When it comes to the struggling offense, there are plenty of areas that need work. That said, there is one area in particular that makes the offense look even worse than it actually is and that is turnovers.

“I think if we get rid of the turnovers and take care of the football, get better technically,” Petrino said when asked what the one thing that is needed to improve from one week to the next. “We have a lot more than just one thing to do. That’s the problem.”

The quarterbacks need to make better decisions, the offensive line needs to perform at a much high level and the wide receivers need to stop dropping passes. That said, it’s the turnovers that make it all much worse than it actually is.

Five games into the 2014 season, Louisville has 11 turnovers. They ten total turnovers in 2013. If the Cards can take care of the ball on Friday and execute, they should be able to get out of up-state New York with a much needed win.

Brandon Radcliff’s Teammates & Coaches Weren’t At All Surprised By His Breakout Game

Photo: JD Coffey

Photo: JD Coffey

The Louisville offense had their worst performance of the season in Saturday’s 20-10 win over Wake Forest. However, redshirt sophomore running back Brandon Radcliff had a breakout performance and was the lone bright spot.

Radcliff finished with 129-yards on 17 carries and scored Louisville’s only two touchdowns of the game. When the season started, Radcliff was the fourth running back on the depth chart, therefore a lot of fans felt his performance came out of no where.

The staff and Radcliff’s teammates weren’t surprised what-so-ever.

“That’s something we see everyday,” senior offensive lineman Jake Smith said asked about Radcliff’s breakout performance. “He’s a guy that has a lot of heart. I think if you to ask any of the guys on this team who has the most heart out of this unit, I think everybody would say Brandon Radcliff. He’s got so much pride and he competes so hard. He’s really put it all together and was poised for a breakout game. Like I said, he plays with a lot of heart and as a teammate you love guys like that.”

Both the previous and current coaching staffs have had high hopes for Radcliff, but unfortunately the Miami native has been buried on the depth chart over the past two years. He got an opportunity against Wake Forest and more than made the most of it.

“I think he will play more, yeah, Petrino said following Monday’s practice when asked about Radcliff’s role going forward. “The way he practices and prepares, he deserves it. Then he went out and performed really well. He was the fastest guy on the field the other day for us. He made a lot of great plays. He gave us all energy. That was the biggest thing.”

With the loaded backfield I think there is plenty of carries to go around, but if Radcliff continues to perform at a higher level the rest of the guys, then he deserves the bulk of the workload.

Former Georgia Player With Domestic Violence Arrest Claims To Have An Offer From Louisville

jonathan-taylor-university-of-georgia-mugshot

Photo: OnlineAthens.com

Last week 247Sports.com reported that Louisville was one of three schools showing serious interest in former Georgia defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor.

The former Bulldog was dismissed from the Bulldog program over the summer after being arrested and charged with aggravated assault/family violence.

Taylor is currently enrolled in junior college and would be eligible to play in 2015 after transferring to a FBS program.

This wasn’t Taylor’s first run in with the law. He was also one of four Georgia players arrested after trying to double-cash scholarship checks in March.

The initial report from 247-Sports claimed that Louisville, Auburn and LSU were all showing interest. Taylor later spoke with the Atlanta Journal Constitution and said that Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been recruiting him and has a scholarship waiting for him. Grantham coahced Taylor during the 2013 season while he was the defensive coordinator for the Georgia program.

Bobby Petrino and his staff can’t comment on players specifically until they sign with the school, but following a practice last week Petrino was asked about potentially bringing on recruits with a history of domestic violence

“We evaluate everything, what’s best for the university,” Petrino said. “Is it a second chance opportunity”

Louisville Football: Notable Numbers From Week Five

Photo: JD Coffey

Photo: JD Coffey

From star to finsih, Louisville’s 20-10 win over Wake Forest on Saturday was pretty ugly. However, here are some notable numbers from the second conference win of the season.

  • 129 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns for Louisville’s 4th string Running Back Brandon Radcliff.
  • 11 penalties for 89 yards. With 35 now on the season the Cards rank 102nd out of 125 FBS teams.
  • 8 different receivers caught Bonnafon balls.
  • 4 fumbles (three lost). With 9 lost on the season Louisville ranks 124th out of 125 FBS teams.
  • 2 more turnovers for the Cards thus far in 2014 than during the entire 2013 season.
  • 45% on 3rd down conversion against the Demon Deacons. 8-18
  • 21 Louisville first downs vs. 7 for Wake Forest.
  • 8 team sacks gives Louisville an average of 3.8 per game ranking them 11th overall.
  • 3 different Running backs have now eclipsed the 100 yard mark in just four games.
  • 21 consecutive home wins at Louisville now for Head Coach Bobby Petrino.

Will Gardner Throws During Monday’s Practice; Status Unknown For Friday

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Photo: Petey Cautilli

In each of the past two weeks we’ve pretty much known who will be taking the majority of the snaps for the Louisville Cardinal football program.

With Reggie Bonnafon unavailable for the FIU game, Will Gardner didn’t have to worry about being pulled and with Gardner held out of action against Wake Forest due to an injury, the reigns were handed to Bonnafon.

For the first time in a few weeks, Bobby Petrino may have an important decision to make at the quarterback position when the Cardinals take on the Syracuse Orange Friday evening at the Carrier Dome.

Reggie Bonnafon showed a lot of upside during Saturday’s win over Wake Forest, but the true freshman had his fair share of mistakes. Gardner didn’t participate in a full contact practice on Monday, but Petrino did say that he returned to the practice field for the first time since the knee injury against FIU.

“He was out there today, he did some individual work,” Petrino said following Monday’s practice. “We have to see how the knee responds to that and what happens tonight, then he has an appointment tomorrow morning with the doctor. So we’ll see where it goes from there. I’m unsure right now what his status will be. He was out there tonight, throwing the ball around.”

Kickoff Time Announced For Louisville’s Trip To Clemson Next Week

Photo: Petey Cautilli

Photo: Petey Cautilli

The official Twitter account for the Louisville football program announced the kickoff time for the Cardinals match-up next week at Clemson.

This will still be a very tough game for Louisville, but this match-up has certainly lost some of its luster. Both teams will likely be unranked at the time of the game.

Clemson’s two losses on the season have come against Georgia and Florida State therefore they still may be one of the toughest teams on Louisville’s schedule, but if the Cards are able to get a win, they won’t get quite the credit that you’d expect.

Louisville Opens As A 3.5 Point Favorite Against Syracuse

Syracuse Orange

Photo: Syracuse.com

On Friday evening Bobby Petrino and the Louisville Cardinals will try to get their first ever conference road win on as members of the ACC.

The Cards are set to take on Syracuse at the infamous Carrier Dome at 7 PM on ESPN.

Cuse is off to a disappointing 2-2 start to the season. The Orange struggled against FCS opponent Villanova in their season opener, squeezing out a 27-26 overtime win. They followed up with a 40-3 win over Central Michigan.

Since then, they’ve lost two in a row. This past weekend Cuse was dominated by No. 8 ranked Notre Dame, 31-15. The week prior, they lost to Maryland 34-20.

Louisville has opened as a 3.5 point favorite over the Orange, per the notable odds-making website. The three main sports betting websites listed on ESPN.com all list the the same odds.

The Cards have been a favorite in each of their five games this season and have covered three of the five. They failed to win and cover against Virginia and also didn’t cover the 21.5 point spread against Wake Forest on Saturday.