LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Big plays were the focus of the first University of Louisville football scrimmage on Saturday in the Trager Indoor Practice Facility.
The Cardinals worked for more than two hours in their first situational scrimmage of the spring, running more than 110 plays with the first three units. Injuries have severely hampered the depth on both sides of the football.
“It was really hard to evaluate practice when so many guys have injuries, and a lot of them were at the end of the season,” head coach Charlie Strong said after practice. “The way our guys came out and competed was a lot of fun just to see how hard they are practicing. They are starting to mature and they understand the level and expectations that we want here.”
The Cardinals are thin on the defensive line this spring with Deiontrez Mount, Lorenzo Mauldin, Roy Philon, Sheldon Rankins, Marcus Smith and Jamaine Brooks out with injuries.
“We are very banged up at the defensive line,” Strong said. “Senior Brandon Dunn is working hard, and Mauldin is working hard. You have the guys who are consistent players and they are just getting better and better.”
Junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a pair of touchdowns and was his normal accurate self, tossing only six incompletions and one interception. Red-shirt freshman Will Gardner also made some nice throws during certain situations.
Junior running back Dominique Brown was impressive after sitting out last year due to an injury. Brown, who was shifty and showed a good burst, ran for three touchdowns and caught a couple passes.
Junior DeVante Parker was the Cardinals leading receiver and also caught a short touchdown pass from Bridgewater. Red-shirt freshman Brandon Radcliff and Gerald Christian were also team leaders in reception.
They (offense) do a great job with the play-action pass,” defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. “Dominique Brown ran like an angry running back should run the ball. The offensive line did a great job of moving us off the ball. You can’t say enough about Teddy (Bridgewater) and DeVante (Parker). It was great to see Dominique run the ball like he did today, we had guys who didn’t want to tackle him today.”
Bedford has continually stressed the importance of getting more interceptions, and the Cardinals seem to be listening to the fourth-year defensive coordinator. Linebacker James Burgess, safety Gerod Holliman and cornerbacks Charles Gaines and Terell Floyd each registered interceptions.
“We had a couple today,” Bedford said in referring to interceptions. “We saw a lot of good things. The guys are starting understand that when the ball is in the air, it has to be our ball. If you have that attitude, you have a chance to make plays.”
The Cardinals return to the practice on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m.