Dec. 30, 2006
MIAMI - The No. 5 ranked University of Louisville football team continued its preparations for the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl practicing for almost two hours on Saturday morning at Barry University.
The Cards practiced in pads and shorts on Saturday in their fourth practice session since arriving in Miami on Dec. 26. Prior to practice, UofL defensive coordinator Mike Cassity and several Cardinal defensive players met with members of the media at a press conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The BIG EAST champion Cardinals will face ACC champion Wake Forest on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 8:23 p.m. ET at Dolphin Stadium and UofL's first Bowl Championship Series game will be televised nationally on FOX-TV.
UofL will host its fifth and final practice in Miami in preparation for the FedEx Orange Bowl on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET at Barry University.
UofL Defense Press Conference Quotes
Senior CB William Gay
"It's been fun ever since we got down here. The Orange Bowl Committee has made everything good. When we got to the hotel, we were just amazed because I never thought I'd be in a hotel like that. We went to the amusement park, the beach and had a beach party, and got to ride the wave runners, so it's been fun."
"Practice has been good. We're getting into that heat coming from Louisville, but we've got a lot of players from down in this area so they know what the heat's about, so we're trying not to have the heat on our mind and practice like we normally do."
"The first thing that comes to mind about Wake's offense is speed. As I looked at them on film, we have to contain them- a big part of their game is the speed and getting around them- so we want to contain that and hopefully slow them down."
Senior SS Brandon Sharp
"It's been a good trip so far. They keep us going with a lot of activities- going down to the beach and yesterday we had a party, so that was pretty cool."
"Wake's got a very good offense and Riley Skinner's got a good arm and can move the ball down the field with running back [Kevin] Moore, so they've got a good team.
"[Gavin Smart] was a big loss, but we have many guys that are going to step up. We had a lot of injuries this year and guys had to step up, so we've just got to work through it. Practice has been good so far- everyone's come out there ready to practice hard."
Junior LB Malik Jackson
"We've been looking at the Wake offense and they pretty much do everything right. They're one of those types of teams that always get their block in and they do a lot of different things so with our speed defense. We've got to keep that going for us - we can't be hesitant watching people going one way and know we've just got to play downhill and attack the offense."
"The quarterback and running back have a lot of talent. Skinner manages the offense well and the running back is fast, so we've got to play our game like we've been playing all year."
"This is my first time being down here so I've enjoyed the beach atmosphere, but we've still got to come out here and practice hard and get ready for the game because this is a business trip, is what it all comes down to."
"Our defense is about speed, running to the ball, getting off blocks and making the tackles. It's just like everyone else's defense, but you've got to do it consistently."
"Every game goes a different way- sometimes it's a defensive game, sometimes it's an offensive game, but we'd like for it to be both of our games, including special teams so hopefully that's how it will go for us."
"Gavin's loss was a tough one- not only on the field, but for the team emotionally. He's a senior and this was going to be his last game, so you know it's going to hit us emotionally. Hopefully we'll take that energy in a good way and go out there and play the game for him."
Senior DT Amobi Okoye
(On what Louisville has seen about Wake Forest's offense) "We've seen a lot of things. They're a productive and good offense; they execute right and always find a way and an edge on the defense. They have a lot of speed and do a lot of reverse and misdirection plays. I think our coaches have a good preparation, a good plan, a good game set up for us."
(On if the defense has prepared any differently than the past season) "Not necessarily. I think it's pretty much the same. Like I've always told the media, I think our coaches do the best job of preparation and getting us ready to play, they just do a real good job and we don't have that much work to do. They break it down, every tendency and everything, getting us ready preparation-wise. We really haven't done anything special other than just practicing, practicing what they do, and the scouts have everything they can do possible."
(On Wake Forest's running game) "They're pretty good, they've got pretty good running backs. Like I said, they do a lot of misdirection plays, and it's gotten to where we just plan and hope, and use our tactics to try to stop them, and hopefully it gets it done."
(On his native country of Nigeria) "I definitely miss it - it is home. I talk to family there a lot, and I hope to go back one of these days to visit."
(On going to the next level) "I think I'm going to approach it the same way I approached it going from high school to college. I have a mindset of going to the NFL and playing, God-willing."
(On why he chose Louisville so early) "I used to come up to Louisville for camp in high school, so I just got used to coming here."
(On the defense's motivation this year) "I really think it's the warrior from within. We don't get as much print as the offense gets or anyone else gets. Each and every one of us knows we have to make a difference."
(On Coach Petrino) "He's a guy who really knows, business-wise, everything. The whole winning-coach thing, the business aspect of things - he's definitely gotten better every year. I can't put it in words. Put it this way - if I had a son and he wanted to play for Louisville, he definitely could."
(On being a 19-year old senior) "It wasn't that difficult in that in my freshman year I was just a freshman, in my sophomore year Coach [Kevin] Wolthausen, the defensive line coach, I remember him talking to me and saying, `This is when the leadership starts, this is when you start working on it. You're not a full-time leader, but a part-time.' My junior year, it was the same thing, but the hours increased. Now, it's a full-time job. I took it upon myself, I wanted to lead this team and I wanted the team to go places it hadn't been before."
Senior DE Zach Anderson
(On what he has seen of Wake Forest's offense) "They're real quick off the ball, they're very disciplined and they don't make too many mistakes. Therefore, we just have to stay focused, watch the ball, and get off when they get off."
"In that offense, everybody must do their job and be disciplined. They have two very fast receivers; two of the fastest guys in the ACC. We have to stay at home and be disciplined and just do what we're taught to do."
Senior LB Nate Harris
(With the hype of U of L's offense, do you feel slighted as a good defense?) "I think it's like that everywhere. The defense always gets a little passed over. We're just trying to focus on our jobs and fly around like we do to try and win some games."
(On being a favorite when U of L is usually an underdog) "Wake Forest is a great team and we're definitely not looking past them. They've got some great players. They've got a freshman All-ACC at quarterback and they've got a great running back."
(On Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner) "He makes plays. He can throw the ball and I've even seen him get out there and make blocks for the running backs. He doesn't seem like a freshman at all."
UofL senior RB Kolby Smith during Saturday's practice in Miami.