July 30, 2006

Four days away

The University of Louisville opens fall football camp Friday, August 4, just four days from today. While any Cardinal fan who owns a red shirt knows about quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush, the offensive pair nicknamed the "Derby City Duo", some less publicized players could be just as crucial to a BCS-caliber season. Here are four things to watch for when practice begins Friday.

1. Watch the line

Bush is a powerhouse at tailback, along with Kolby Smith and George Stripling, Brohm is a surefire starter at quarterback and the Cardinals are loaded at receiver with 6-foot-6 Mario Urrutia returning and playmaker Harry Douglas poised for a breakout season. But the real action this fall could be on the offensive line where three players look to cement their starting roles and the entire left side of the line is in a position battle.

Redshirt sophomore Eric Wood has taken a strong leadership role on the line at center and the strong side appears to be bigger than ever with senior guard Kurt Quarterman and senior tackle Renardo Foster back healthy. The other side of the line is a different story. At guard, Danny Barlowe and former walk-on George Bussey will battle it out for the chance to start against Kentucky. At tackle, converted tight end Breno Giacomini is in a battle with junior college transfer Marcel Benson for the starting nod.

While every position on the field is officially up for grabs according to the Cardinal coaches, those two line spots are the only two on offense that will likely change between Friday and the Kentucky kickoff, September 3.

2. Peanut takes the field

Likely the most anticipated practice debut since Brian Brohm in 2004, Birmingham, Ala. defensive end Deantwan Whitehead was Louisville's highest rated recruit in the 2006 recruiting class. Rated among the top five defensive ends in the nation by Rivals.com, Whitehead - whose nickname since childhood has been "Peanut" - is expected to begin a march toward playing time on Friday.

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