LOUISVILLE — Louisville Coach Charlie Strong said he was satisfied after the Cardinals first fall practice.
"It's good to get started; we had a good morning," the second-year head coach said.
Practice was split with returning players beginning just after 6 a.m. and newcomers scheduled for an afternoon session.
"The reason why is that the freshman can be taught the drills," Strong said. "We just didn't want to get them out with the vets and they didn't know what to do."
Junior quarterback Will Stein knows what to do. He is expected to start the season at quarterback but will be challenged by Teddy Bridgewater, a highly regarded true freshman from Miami.
Stein was awake at 4:55 a.m. to prepare for the early-morning practice, and he said the team got off to a good first day.
"There's some emotion out there," Stein said. "Everybody's running fast and practicing at full speed. Overall, it was a pretty good day. I think we got better."
Players worked out without pads, and Strong said the team would begin full contact drills sometime toward the end of the first week of practice.
Friday and Saturday's practice sessions are open to the public and offer the only chance for fans to see the team in action before the season opener. The Friday session begins at 5:30 p.m. with Saturday's workout set for 11:30 a.m. Both will be held on the practice fields next to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Strong had originally planned to keep all practices closed, but he changed his mind.
"It's their football team," Strong said of the fans, "so they deserve a chance to come out and watch us practice."
Louisville was picked to finish seventh in the Big East pre-season media poll, ahead of just Rutgers. The Cardinals finished 7-6 in Strong's first season, capped off with a 31-28 win in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl against Southern Mississippi. The team returns four starters on offense and seven on defense.
The Cardinals will host Murray State on Sept. 1 to begin their season.