Cardinal Football

Kentucky’s Mark Stoops Says The UofL-UK Rivalry Will Continue Regardless Of SEC Scheduling

stoops yahtzWhile the University of Louisville football program participated in their first ever ACC media day on Monday, they still managed to share the local headlines with the Kentucky program.

Shortly before Bobby Petrino took the podium in Greensboro on Monday afternoon, University of Kentucky spokesman Tony Neely confirmed reports that head football coach Mark Stoops would not be attending Wednesday’s annual Governor’s Cup Luncheon.

Most assumed that this was the first big hint from the Kentucky program that they’re no longer interested in playing Louisville on an annual basis. UK claimed Stoops’ absence was purely based on the fact that he didn’t see “any value” in attending a press conference about a game that won’t happen until the very end of the season.

I suppose that makes sense, but if we’re being honest here, this annual press conference isn’t solely about the game between Louisville and Kentucky. In recent years, this has mostly been used a a platform for both programs to talk about the upcoming season and not just the Governor’s Cup Game.

The future of the series has been a topic of conversation this week for both Louisville and Kentucky fans after Stoops and athletic director Mitch Barnhart pulled a no show at the luncheon. However, Stoops spoke to the media on Friday afternoon and stated that he wants to preserve the in-state rivalry.

“Any time you’re an in-state rivalry it’s important. I think both groups, both institutions, have such strong fans and fan bases that it’s important to them and it’s important to our players. There’s no denying that,” Stoops said that the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club.

“If you ask me, and certainly Charlie Strong and I have had discussions, I don’t know Coach Bobby Petrino as well, but sometimes people don’t realize there’s 11 other games that we’ve gotta get to. But it is important, and we embrace that challenge.”

For those who worried that the rivalry would eventually go away, Stoops’ comments are certainly encouraging. That said, there really isn’t a way for Kentucky to get out of playing Louisville without looking like cowards. With the SEC’s recent requirement that each team schedules one out of conference game against a “Power Five” opponent, Kentucky is basically stuck with Louisville.

Of course, they could always end the annual rivalry and start a series with Indiana or another weak team from a Power Five league, but as I mentioned, there is no way to do that without looking like you’re flat out scared to play Louisville.

DeVante Parker Is Likely To Shatter School Records In Petrino’s Offense

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Despite having a twelve win season and a Russell Athletic Bowl trophy, there was a good portion of the Louisville fan base that wasn’t pleased with the overall product that Charlie Strong and his staff put on the field in 2013. Of course, winning is all that matters, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that last year’s team was capable of scoring a lot more points than they did.

If history repeats itself, we’ll  see an extreme change in 2014 with Bobby Petrino calling the plays. Despite not having all of the weapons from last year’s team at his disposal, Petrino could potentially double the amount of points that Shawn Watson’s offense produced in 2013.

Senior wide receiver DeVante Parker appears to be very excited about that.

 “At times last season did get frustrating,”  Parker told Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal at ACC media day. “Sometimes I’d catch the ball one time in a game or none at all. But I never really said anything. They were always putting their foot on the brake. They didn’t want to score anything.”

“I would say this season will be more fun. This staff, they like to score. That’s what we’re looking forward to. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Parker ranks third all time in touchdown receptions for his career and still has one season left. In his first three seasons, Parker totaled 28 touchdowns, which is just five shy of the school record. Parker’s 12 touchdowns in 2013 tied Ibn Green’s school record for most TD’s in a season.

Just imagine if Parker had played his first three seasons under Bobby Petrino’s offense instead of Shawn Watson. Scary, right? Regardless, as long as he’s healthy, Parker is likely to break both the single season record and the all time record in 2014.

Charlie Strong Has A Mess On His Hands In Texas

Erich Schlegel | Getty Images

Erich Schlegel | Getty Images

When hired to take over the Louisville football program in December of 2009, Charlie Strong had quite a mess to clean up. All of the momentum that Bobby Petrino had built from 2003-06 was crushed by Steve Kragthorpe in just three years. The program was at one of its lowest points in the past 50 years when Strong was hired. Fortunately it took Strong just three years to get the program to a level it had never seen before.

Mack Brown didn’t exactly leave a huge mess for Strong to clean up at Texas, but considering the standards of Longhorn football, there is plenty of work that needs to be done for UT to get back to being one of the top programs in the country.

Unfortunately for Strong, his first six months at the helm haven’t gone as well as he would have hoped. There is still a percentage of the Texas fan base that aren’t thrilled about the hire. Strong’s also getting dominated by in-state rival Texas A&M on the recruiting trail. To make matters worse, Strong is now dealing with an issue that he’s never experienced as a head coach before.

On Thursday afternoon, two Texas players were arrested and charged with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month. Wide receivers Montrel Meander and Kendall Sanders were suspended indefinitely following the arrest.

The felony sexual assault charges are considered second-degree in nature and stem from an incident that took place earlier this week, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Sanders also faces an additional charge for what is being reported as improper photography. Bail for each has been set at $75,000 for Meander and $95,000 for Sanders.

“We’ve been monitoring and addressing the situation with Kendall and Montrel since it was brought to our attention,” Strong said in a statement released by the school. “It’s been made clear to everyone on our team that treating women with respect is one of our core values, and I’m extremely disappointed that two young men in our program have been accused of not doing that.”

Just hours after the news broke regarding the sexual assault charges, Strong dismissed two separate players from the program. Chevoski Collins and Jalen Overstreet were dismissed for what is being called a violation of team rules. It’s hard to imagine that Meander and Sanders aren’t dismissed from the program as well. Considering Strong’s core values, it’d be tough to keep those guys around.

In all honesty, I wish Strong the best and hope he has success in Austin. That said, he hasn’t exactly had a great start. This isn’t the type of situation you want to be dealing with before coaching your first game.

Video: Teddy Bridgewater Throws Out The First Pitch For The Minnesota Twins

Photo | MLB.com

Photo | MLB.com

Our beloved Teddy Bridgewater threw out the first pitch for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Wednesday their game against the Cleveland Indians. Although it sailed a bit high, I’d say Teddy’s pitch was solid.

Now that he’s a professional, there are much more public relation obligations for Bridgewater. Despite being a good sport about it, Teddy hasn’t changed a bit and says he just wants to play football.

“I’m just ready to get there, put the pads on, just continue to play football,” Bridgewater told Fox Sports. “That’s what we’re here to do — play football. I just can’t wait to see the guys. We’ve had a month off now. I just can’t wait to see the guys, get back, and just fly around.”

Petrino Will Open Up The First Week Of Practice For The Fans

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Louisville Cardinal football junkies who can’t wait until Sept. 1 to get their first taste of action got some good news on Wednesday afternoon.

At the annual Governor’s Cup Luncheon, Bobby Petrino announced that he’ll be opening up the first week of practices for fans who want to attend. The practices Aug. 5-9 will all be open to the fans.

There will also be an scrimmage on Aug. 16 at 9 a.m. Fan day will also be at Aug. 16 at 3 p.m. On Aug. 5-8, there will be practices that feature mostly the newcomers that start at 8:50 a.m. The returning players will take the field at 4:20 p.m.

The practice on Aug. 9 is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Practices and scrimmages will likely be held at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, but could end up being moved to the indoor facility, depending upon weather.

Confirmed: Former Washington St. QB Tyler Bruggman Is Headed To Louisville

Photo | Washington State Athletics

Photo | Washington State Athletics

On Wednesday afternoon, The Cardinal Connect reported that former Washington State quarterback Tyler Bruggman was in the process of transferring to Louisville, per sources. Just hours later it’s now been officially confirmed that Bruggman will in fact enroll at Louisville.

The Phoenix, AZ., native will have to sit out during the 2014 season due to the NCAA’s transfer rule, but is expected to participate in the fall camp. With Penn State transfer Tyler Ferguson also on the roster, Bobby Petrino and Gerrick McGee now have two quarterbacks that will participate in practice, but won’t be able to play in games this season.

Bruggman redshirted as a true freshman for Washington State this past season. With Connor Holliday entering his senior season, Bruggman was competing for the back-up spot in Pullman, Washington.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound, signal caller was rated as a four star prospect coming out of high school.  He chose to play for Mike Leach and Washington State over Arkansas, which was when Petrino was still the Razorbacks head coach. Arizona State also made a strong late push for Bruggman.

Once it was announced that he would be transferring from Washington State, Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reported that Louisville Duke, Indiana and Arkansas were the four schools that Bruggman was granted a release to. Fortunately, he chose to finish his college career under Bobby Petrino.

As a senior, Bruggman was named Phoenix Metro Player of the Year by Arizona Republic after completing 156-of-259 passes for 2,497 yards and 37 touchdowns and two interceptions. Rivals.com tabbed him as 18th best quarterback prospect in the country.

There isn’t much of a serious battle for the starting quarterback position in 2014, but if Will Gardner doesn’t have a strong showing this season, we’ll be in for a big time battle in 2015 with Bruggman and Ferguson in the mix.

The Keg Of Nails Rivalry May Not Be Over For Good

cope trophyOutside of Kentucky, Cincinnati is probably the biggest rivalry for the University of Louisville when it comes to the gridiron. There’s not nearly as much hatred between the two fan bases, but there is definitely a lot of history.

Louisville has played Cincinnati in football more than they’ve played any other opponent. Unfortunately, due to the recent conference carousel, the 2013 game was the last one scheduled.

With Louisville now in the ACC and Cincinnati stuck in the American Conference, the two teams won’t meet for a conference showdown for the first time in over a decade.

I enjoyed playing Cincinnati,” Bobby Petrino told the media at the ACC Kickoff on Monday. “I enjoyed the rivalry. I enjoyed going up there and playing. I enjoyed them coming down and playing us. I think it was a special game every year. We liked carrying the keg home after the game. We’re going to miss playing them.”

Although there isn’t a game scheduled at this point, it does appear that both sides are considering adding a non-conference series. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati is discussing future football games with Louisville, Kentucky, and Pittsburgh.

When Louisville was in lackluster leagues like the dying Big East and the AAC, scheduling out of conference games against high level opponents was crucial. However, now that they’ll be going up against the likes of Florida State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Virginia Tech, most would assume that they’d schedule at least three out of conference “gimme” games.

When it comes to non conference rival games on the gridiron, Tom Jurich and Louisville have made it very clear that Kentucky is their top priority, despite the feelings not being mutual over the past few years. Although Kentucky is the first choice, Jurich was at one point considering the possibility of having both KY and Cincy on the schedule.

“If we’re going to keep one, we’re going to keep Kentucky,”  Jurch told Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com last May. “That’s something that’s so important in our state, and the commonwealth of Kentucky relies on that game, so it’s something I want to make sure we keep. We might be able to play both in the same year once in a while, because Cincinnati has been a great rivalry, too.”

Petrino Family Foundation Announces Exclusive Tailgate Party

TailgatePartyeBlast

The Petrino Family Foundation, established by U of L Head Football Coach Bobby Petrino and his family, is thrilled to announce the kickoff of their Petrino Family Foundation Tailgate Parties for the 2014 football season.  Proceeds from the tailgates will go towards the Foundation’s pledges including the Children’s Hospital Foundation through the Trauma Program at Kosair Children’s Hospital, the U of L Marching Band, and the Petrino Family Foundation Scholarship.

Season passes for the tailgate parties are on sale now.  The Season Pass includes access to the VIP tent for all six home games, a table for 10, a rotating menu, bar with complementary drink tickets, entertainment, photo wall, former player appearances, and sideline pregame opportunities.  The Petrino Family Foundation tent opens 3 hours before every game and will be located between the Football Complex and the Trager Center.  Tables will be sold on a first response basis, and a portion of the purchase is eligible for a charitable deduction.

Petrino’s oldest daughter, Kelsey Petrino Scott, will serve as Executive Director of the Foundation.  Petrino Scott graduated from U of L in 2009 with a degree in Sports Administration and is thrilled to be back in Louisville working with her family on the Foundation.

“Louisville has always been home to me and my family.  We are so excited for football season and to provide fans with the ultimate tailgate experience.  The best part of these tailgate parties is that we are bettering the community and supporting some great causes,” said Petrino Scott.

To purchase your table now or for more information on the tailgate parties, contact the Foundation at at 502-805-2751 or at info@petrinofamilyfoundation.org

DeVante Parker Named Preseason First Team All ACC

Jamie Rhodes | USA Today Sports

Jamie Rhodes | USA Today Sports

On Wednesday morning that Atlantic Coast Conference released the 2014 Preseason Conference Team. In Louisville’s first season in the league, senior wide receiver DeVante Parker is the only Cardinal to be honored by the league’s respected media members.

The team was selected by the media attending the 2014 ACC Football Kickoff held this past Sunday and Monday at Greensboro’s Grandover Resort. Parker received 32 votes from the media. Syracuse tackle Sean Hickey is the only player named to the first team that received fewer votes than Parker. 

As expected, returning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of Florida State was named the league’s preseason MVP. Florida State placed nine players on the 26-man preseason.  The 26 members of the preseason All-ACC have combined to be named  this month on a total of 62 preseason watch lists for major national individual awards including the Outland Trophy (6), Nagurski Trophy (11), Bednarik Award (11), Maxwell Award (6), Lombardi Award (11) and Walter Camp Award (6). 

Offense

 Pos. Name (Votes)  Ht.  Wt. Class Hometown
WR Jamison Crowder, Duke (68) 5-9 175 Senior Monroe, N.C.
WR Rashad Greene, Florida State (56) 6-0 178 Senior Albany, Ga.
WR DeVante Parker, Louisville (32) 6-3 208 Senior Louisville, Ky.
TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State (86) 6-3 244 Senior Palm Beach, Fla.
T Cameron Erving, Florida State (82) 6-6 302 Senior-R Moultrie, Ga.
T Sean Hickey, Syracuse (26) 6-5 300 Senior Murrysville, Pa.
G Tre’ Jackson, Florida State (82) 6-4 339 Senior Jesup, Ga.
G Laken Tomlinson, Duke (52) 6-3 330 Senior-R Chicago, Ill.
C Andy Gallik, Boston College (39) 6-3 304 Senior-R Evergreen Park, Ill.
QB Jameis Winston, Florida State (97) 6-4 235 Sophomore-R Bessemer, Ala.
RB Duke Johnson, Miami (95) 5-9 206 Junior Miami, Fla.
RB Karlos Williams, Florida State (37) 6-1 219 Senior Davenport, Fla.

Defense

Pos.  Name (Votes) Ht Wt Class Hometown
DE Vic Beasley, Clemson (96) 6-2 235 Senior-R Adairsville, Ga.
DE Mario Edwards, Jr., Florida State (66) 6-3 294 Junior Gautier, Miss.
DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech (74) 6-1 291 Senior Delray Beach, Fla.
DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson (61) 6-1 295 Senior Conyers, Ga.
LB Denzel Perryman, Miami (82) 6-0 242 Senior Coral Gables, Fla.
LB Kelby Brown, Duke (74) 6-2 230 Senior-R Matthews, N.C.
LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson (55) 6-2 245 Senior Polkton, N.C.
CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech (80) 5-11 195 Sophomore Baltimore, Md.
CB P.J. Williams, Florida State (60) 6-0 196 Junior Ocala, Fla.
S Anthony Harris, Virginia (80) 6-1 185 Senior Chesterfield, Va.
S Jeremy Cash, Duke (56) 6-2 205 Junior-R Miami, Fla.

Specialist

 Pos. Name (Votes) Ht Wt Class Hometown
PK Roberto Aguayo, Florida State (79) 6-1 209 Sophomore Mascotte, Fla.
P A.J. Hughes, Virginia Tech (29) 6-1 212 Junior Terra Haute, Ind..
SP Ryan Switzer, North Carolina (68) 5-10 180 Sophomore Charleston, W. Va.

All Signs Point To Former Washington St. QB Tyler Bruggman Landing At Louisville

Photo | CougCenter.com

Photo | CougCenter.com

Earlier this month it was reveled that Washington State quarterback Tyler Bruggman would be transferring from the program.

Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reported that Louisville, Duke, Indiana and Arkansas were the four schools that WSU granted Bruggman a release to.

Bruggman was competing for the second string spot for the Cougars this past Spring before decidign to transfer.

He redshirted as a freshman in 2013 for WSU. The Phoenix native will have to sit out during the 2014 season due to the NCAA’s transfer school.

When coming out of high school, the four star recruit chose Mike Leach and Washington State over Arkansas, which was when Petrino was still the Razorbacks head coach.

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been any type of official announcement, but from what I’m hearing, Bruggman is in the process of transferring to Louisville.

Jason Jewell of Scout360AZ.com, a Arizona based Scout partner, reports that all signs point to Bruggman landing at Louisville.

I’d expect some type of official announcement to come within the next couple of weeks.