U of L football notebook: Ohio pre-game

Devontre Parnell

The University of Louisville football team kicks off the season on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. against Ohio University in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Here are a few leftover notes to hold you over until game time.

A TON OF OFFENSIVE SETS

With so many weapons and so much versatility on offense, University of Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said his team will have more than double offensive sets than at any time last season.

Watson said the offense has upwards of 15 or 16 sets.

And I would imagine he plans to use a few more than usual even in the opener because he has a veteran quarterback – junior Teddy Bridgewater - who is very calm under pressure.

"We're going to move guys all around," Watson said with a smile.

Tight end Ryan Hubbell said the Cardinals' offense is built this season to keep opposing defenses off balance.

"We can move all over the place in the tight end position," Hubbell said. "We can do anything with us and enough receivers that we can mix around."

It should be fun to watch.

PARKER IS ‘SPIDERMAN'

U of L junior wide receiver DeVante Parker has received a ton of preseason accolades, including from Bridgewater.

"He's a freak," Bridgewater said.

Safety Calvin Pryor said he has a new nickname for Parker.

"He's Spiderman," Pryor said. "He has those sticky hands. He'll catch anything. I know he's helped make us better as a defensive back group."

'NASTY' RIGHT GUARD FOR CARDS

Watson called right guard Chris Acosta one of the "biggest surprises" of the fall camp, noting he's "really come on since spring."

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Acosta will start at right guard in replace of Kam Joyer, who is sidelined with a leg injury.

"Acosta is a nasty guy," left tackle Jamon Brown said. "His strength is being nasty. He likes to be physical."

Watson said Acosta helps give the Cardinals a "better chance to win," than he would have just a few weeks ago. "He's improved a lot."

KICK RETURN WILL BE FASTER

On special teams, U of L coach Charlie Strong said at the end of last season the Cardinals needed to get some faster guys in the back.

U of L special teams coach Kenny Carter said "no doubt" the return game will be faster this season, adding "it's not even close."

"We have taken it to another level with guys like (Robert) Clark and (Devontre) Parnell back there," he said. "We've got some fast guys back there."

Added Strong: "We've got some of those little fast guys back there," noting you could also see Eli Rogers, Corvin Lamb and James Quick back threre.

SAME STAFF HELPS CONTINUITY

U of L is one of 18 schools in the country to return the exact same coaching staff as the previous season. Only one change has occurred in two years.

Strong said the staff had a smoother fall camp because "everyone knows everybody's personality and we don't have to re-teach anything."

"It's been great for our staff," Strong said. "And we have a good mixture of young coaches and older coaches. It is a great staff."

And Strong said he didn't have to do much selling.

"Guys are going to have opportunities," Strong said. "But when you have an athletic director like we do here at Louisville, he makes it attractive for those guys. Now with the conference, it's even more attractive."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Hakeem Smith was asked when he knew that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a lot of toughness. His answer was last year's Connecticut game when Bridgewater was injured but came back into the game.

"It raised a lot of eyebrows," Smith said. "A lot of players would have probably tapped out with a high-ankle sprain. He had a high ankle sprain and a wrist injury and still came back for more. He came in and fought to the end."

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