Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Smith looking forward to rare Saturday game
By Chris Duncan
The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays. Louisville has played games on all of them this season.
This week's game with TCU (5-1, 2-1 Conference USA) will be a nice change - the Cardinals' first Saturday game this month and their first Saturday home game of the season.
"The fans will be excited. They won't know what to do. Saturday football game, wow," Louisville coach John L. Smith joked at his weekly news conference on Monday.
The Cardinals (4-2, 2-0) haven't played since a 38-32 win over Memphis last Tuesday night.
While the team practiced over the weekend, Smith sent some of his coaches down to Florida to recruit in the fresh afterglow of Louisville's landmark win over Florida State on Sept. 26, a rainy Thursday night.
"We're only able to call kids on the phone, but for all the kids you call, it's been major," Smith said. "Everybody watched it, everybody's excited about it.
"Hopefully, they're looking at us in a little bit of a different vein than they have in the past. Hopefully, that'll bring some more recruits to the table."
For now, Smith has more pressing concerns.
The top priority is replacing senior tight end Ronnie Ghent, who leads tight ends nationally with 25 receptions. Ghent is out for the season with a knee injury he suffered in Memphis.
"He's down, like any kid would be. It's been painful to him," Smith said. "You hate losing him, the football team hates it, everybody hates it, but that's part of the game."
Ghent's backup, junior Richard Owens, will move into the starting position and senior walk-on Tone Slatter and sophomore Adam McCauley could also see action Saturday, Smith said. Redshirt freshman Chad Rimpsey, recently moved over from the defensive line, may be pressed into emergency service.
Owens has five career catches, but three went for touchdowns. He has only one catch this season, a 3-yard TD reception, against Memphis.
Smith said the 6-foot-4, 268-pound Owens isn't as fast as Ghent, but can catch just as well and blocks better.
"He's going to be a little different," Smith said. "He brings more blocking to the table than Ronnie, because he's bigger and stronger. He's definitely a good player. We're awfully glad we have him."
Smith said two other Cardinals will return from injuries this week. Sophomore guard Will Rabatin broke his leg against Duke on Sept. 7 and sophomore defensive tackle Bobby Leffew hurt his knee in the season opener against Kentucky.
"That will help a bunch having both those guys back," Smith said.
Smith said cornerback Laroni Gallishaw and defensive tackle Keeshan Lowe remain suspended for a violation of team rules. Both players missed last week's game at Memphis.
Smith said the rest of the Cardinals had a sharp week of practice following the victory.
"I'm starting to get the sense, the last couple of practices, that we're becoming more business-like. Just this week. Not before that," Smith said. "Going into the Memphis game, we were a little bit too much laughs and giggles for my liking.
"The last couple of days, we've gone to the field and it's been very business-like. I'd like us to improve on that. We're not there yet."
Smith hopes the improved discipline reduces penalties, a scourge for the past two seasons. The Cardinals lead Conference USA with 70 penalties for 642 yards.
"We're not very smart in a lot of regards. We've got to smarten up a little bit," Smith said. "Stupid penalties. That's what they are, stupid ones. That just aggravates you."
Defensive end Dewayne White was named the league's defensive player of the week, after logging nine tackles and two sacks against the Tigers. White, now with 32 1/2 sacks, became Louisville's all-time leader in the category last week.
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