Louisville reloads, prepares for Clemson visit in early September


by - Senior Writer -
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Bobby Petrino has holes to fill on offense and defense (Photo by Jamie Rhodes)
Bobby Petrino has holes to fill on offense and defense (Photo by Jamie Rhodes)

Clemson’s first big early test of the 2015 football season will take place on a Thursday night in Papa John’s Stadium when the Tigers travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals on Sept. 17th in a Thursday night ESPN matchup.

In 2014’s gritty affair in Death Valley Clemson lost quarterback Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
So. Quarterback
#4 6-2, 205
Gainesville, GA

View Full Profile
to an injury early in the contest and the offensively-challenged Tigers failed to score an offensive touchdown. Clemson got a punt return for a touchdown from Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Wide Receiver (2011 - 2014)
#13 5-11, 193
Spartanburg, SC

View Full Profile
, a fumble return for a touchdown by Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Defensive Tackle (2011 - 2014)
#50 6-0, 290
Conyers, GA

View Full Profile
and three Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS Sr. Punter / Kicker
#36 5-11, 200
Alpharetta, GA

View Full Profile
field goals in the 23-17 win.

However, it took a dramatic late stop to earn the win after Will Gardner's 73-yard pass to James Quick put the Cardinals on Clemson's eight-yard line with 1:08 left. Gardner was forced to spike the ball on third down to stop the clock at the Tigers two on third down. After rolling right on the final play, defensive tackle DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams
Defensive Tackle (2011 - 2014)
#99 6-1, 295
Central, SC

View Full Profile
batted away the pass.

Both teams have lost a lot defensively – the Tigers lose eight starters off last season’s number one ranked defense. However, Louisville loses all of its outstanding secondary. The Cardinals had a school-record 10 players taken in last week’s NFL Draft and need to find answers on defense, at wide receiver and settle on a starting quarterback.

Head coach Bobby Petrino told the ACC media that he liked what he saw in the spring.

“Well, I thought we had a very good spring. It was nice to have the continuity on our staff and have all of our coaches back and see the improvements that we made because our players really understand how we're going to work and go about our business and the tempo that we're going to practice at,” Petrino said. “So I felt like we were able to make some real strides there. We've had some good quarterback competition going on, which is always a lot of fun and something that I thought they all handled well, and then I like what I see from our defense. We're going to be strong on the defensive front. We'll have some new guys in the secondary, but they're talented, and we have a really good linebacking crew. Overall I thought we got done a lot in spring ball, but certainly we have a lot of work ahead of us and a long way to go to get ready for a real tough early schedule.”

At quarterback, sophomore Reggie Bonnafon started five games last season and split reps with Kyle Bolin and Penn St. junior transfer Tyler Ferguson this spring. Will Gardner made seven starts last season but missed the spring recovering from an injury, but Petrino says he hopes Gardner will be able to resume football activities in June.

“I was in here yesterday with Will and visiting with him, he says it feels better than it ever has. It's something that is the third surgery, but obviously the first one didn't go well, so he had to have it redone, and now he says it feels better than it has since he's been here,” Petrino said. “But he still has a timetable where he's probably not throwing the football until early June to mid-June. So we have a ways to know if he can get into the competition or not in August. Certainly we hope so, and we're cheering for him because I think he's a really good football player. But in the summer what it's really about is to watch and observe and see how our players, our quarterbacks lead the team and how they go out there and run the drills and take charge, so it gives them an advantage away from the coaches to show their leadership and dedication to their craft.”

At receiver, the Cardinals have to find replacements for DeVante Parker, Gerald Christian, Kai De La Cruz and Eli Rogers. Those four players accounted for 146 of Louisville's 237 receptions, plus 2,067 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Petrino went the transfer route to retool quickly, adding Texas A&M transfer Ja'Quay Savage (formerly known as Ja'Quay Williams), UAB transfer Jamari Staples and JUCO transfer Alphonso Carter.

“Yeah, there's great competition, and overall I think it's going to be a really good group. I think we're a little taller as a group,” Petrino said. “We have more speed. We're just inexperienced, so we have to make up for the inexperience and get them to really come along here in the summer and early August. But on the outside, Jamari Staples had a very good spring for us. He's played in this offense with Garrick McGee at UAB and he's tall and has good hands and can really run and runs good routes for us. Ja'Quay Savage now, he changed his last name, is a very talented young man that was with us all last year, so he does have an understanding of the offense, and he's big and physical, and he missed a little bit of time this spring that hurt him, but hopefully he'll be back full speed and ready to go when we get going in August.

“James Quick had a really good spring for us, kind of moving him around, playing him at different spots, and he's been through how we practice and then through how we go about our business, so he was mentally in better physical condition than the other guys. We do think Traveon Samuel will really help us. He's a guy that can really run with the ball after the catch and is very quick and has good hands, can make different catches. We have Charles Standberry is playing in the slot position, is a big, physical guy with great hands and a real competitor. I think that's what -- the thing we liked about him last year as a true freshman was that he's a great competitor and really is a playmaker. Whenever we gave him an opportunity to make plays, he made the plays. We do have some young freshmen that will come in and compete and work this summer to get in the rotation.”

Rate this Story:
32 votes

Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 26) Author
spacer New Story: Louisville reloads, prepares for Clemson visit in early September
TigerNet News
spacer Re: New Story: Louisville reloads, prepares for Clemson visit in early September
barnwelltiger
spacer Maybe he's saying he has a bunch of
cutigerbob®
spacer OK... I give up. Who's quote? I forgot... Shame...***
SOLOS®
spacer Re: OK... I give up. Who's quote? I forgot... Shame...***
allintiger1
spacer What a D-bag. He still looks better w/ a neck brace and
morris
spacer What a D-bag. He still looks better w/ a neck brace and
morris
spacer I can't wait!! I will be there - in Papa John's Stadium
Fever®
spacer Re: I can't wait!! I will be there - in Papa John's Stadium
CinTiger1
spacer I got a flight and hotel booked already.***
Clemsnman®
spacer Re: I got a flight and hotel booked already.***
Tigerdug23®
spacer This game...
Prime T. Tiger
spacer My least concern...this one is in the bag...***
Tall_Tiger_Two
spacer Hate on Petrino all you want, he is a heck of a coach.***
JeffersonStTiger
spacer How's that bike doing, Bobby?
TigerHawk76®
spacer For all the Petrino hype their offense has yet to show it
NortherTiger
spacer Anyone know the best source for tix?
tigersbite®
spacer Re: Anyone know the best source for tix?
tlever
spacer How many People are gonna watch "BEST BARS in America"
FLTiger87
spacer They Are Soooooo Waiting On Us ----
Xander5000
spacer Re: New Story: Louisville reloads, prepares for Clemson visit in early September
joistman®
spacer Good write-up Hood
Tigertricks
spacer Re: New Story: Louisville reloads, prepares for Clemson visit in early September
BerlinSPY73®
spacer Thursday night road game vs Petrino= tall task!***
JeffersonStTiger
spacer Enjoy Louisville: one dirtyass city
Dr. Nikola Tesla
spacer the clean up
Neal in NC®
spacer Nice work Neal
Dr. Nikola Tesla
Thursday's scrimmage a battle of the elite versus the elite
Thursday's scrimmage a battle of the elite versus the elite
Unfinished Business: Mark Fields looking to put it all together in 2018
Unfinished Business: Mark Fields looking to put it all together in 2018
WATCH: Deshaun Watson hype video "Doubted"
WATCH: Deshaun Watson hype video "Doubted"
Fox Sports analyst thinks Deshaun Watson could 'change the sport' of football
Fox Sports analyst thinks Deshaun Watson could 'change the sport' of football
For Trayvon Mullen, knowledge leads to championships
For Trayvon Mullen, knowledge leads to championships
WATCH: Behind the scenes with Clemson Football
WATCH: Behind the scenes with Clemson Football
WATCH: Dabo comes from 17 lengths behind to win.... a horse race
WATCH: Dabo comes from 17 lengths behind to win.... a horse race
Tigers to give "punch-drunk" freshmen the weekend off as Furman prep begins
Tigers to give "punch-drunk" freshmen the weekend off as Furman prep begins
WATCH: Former Clemson WR's diving TD grab
WATCH: Former Clemson WR's diving TD grab
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Breaking
Daily Digest