Cardinal Football: Adjusting to a new offensive scheme



From U of L Athletics

Finishing day two of the spring practice, the University of Louisville football team has a lot to learn.

Learning new systems on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball is going to take some time, but the players are enjoying the process.

"I love it a lot," sophomore quarterback Malik Cunningham said. "We all just like being here. It hasn't been like this in a long time."

Not only are the Cardinals learning a new system, but they are also adjusting to a new way to practice.

Chaos was a word that was used to describe the first day of practice by many of the players, but offensive lineman Caleb Chandler has enjoyed the change in the routine.

"It's still chaotic out there," he said. "It's fun. It's all new to everyone, but we're all enjoying it. It's a new culture out there with these new coaches."

Wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer, who came to Louisville after a year with the Philadelphia Eagles, likes what he's seen so far, but knows the culture change will take some patience.

"Accountability is something that's very tough for any generation," Gunter Brewer said. "Football is a tough game. Life is a tough game. When things get tough, they look for the shortest way to get things done instead of the best way to get things done. However, sometimes the hardest way is the best way."

Cunningham, who emerged as a dynamic playmaker, led the Cardinals in rushing last season with 497 yards and five touchdowns, but is enjoying learning a new offensive system and has grown to love his new quarterbacks coach, Frank Ponce.

"I love Coach Ponce and he's only been here for a month. He's a very good coach," Cunningham said. "He knows what he's talking about. He's going to get us right."

Just two days in, the quarterback battle will be something to watch all spring. The Cardinals have three scholarship signal callers on the roster, and it should be a three-headed race between Cunningham, Jawon Pass and freshman Evan Conley, who enrolled in January after a stellar career at Kell High School in Marietta, Ga.

"We're all just battling," Cunningham said. "I've been going with the first team but that doesn't mean anything. I've just been trying to lead the team by example and do everything right."

UofL head coach Scott Satterfield and offensive coordinator Dwayne Ledford are installing a fast-paced offense that should benefit Cunningham's skill set and ability to push the tempo.

After Wednesday's practice Cunningham stated that the new scheme fits him perfect because it's almost identical to what was run at Park Crossing in Montgomery, Alabama.

"It's so different, so much easier in my opinion," Cunningham said. "It's going to help all of the quarterbacks a lot."

Brewer said Wednesday that all of the quarterbacks have handled the offense really well, considering how fast they've been going in practice.

"They've made some throws that are tremendous and made some mistakes just like every other person on the team did. To do what we've done in two days, I have really been impressed by the way they've handled it."

The Cardinals will take another step forward when they put helmets and shoulder pads on for the first time on Friday before the first padded practice on Saturday morning.

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