DE Marcus Jones

2003 Statistics

Coach: Bobby Petrino
9-4, 1 year
2003 Record: 9-4
at Kentucky WON 40-24
at Syracuse WON 30-20
UTEP WON 42-14
at South Florida LOST 28-31
ARMY WON 34-10
at East Carolina WON 36-20
at TCU LOST 28-31
at Cincinnati WON 43-40
Miami OH LOST 28-49

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Bobby Petrino picked up where John L. Smith left off. In his first season as a head coach, Petrino's straightforward style and emphasis on teaching fundamentals propelled the Cards into the national spotlight after a so-so 2002 campaign. Louisville raced out to one of its fastest starts in school history, running to a 7-1 start that gave the program its first national ranking since opening the '02 season at No. 17. It's no wonder Louisville signed Petrino to a contract extension that will take him through the 2010 season. He has more talent to work with this season.

The passing game will be even better now that LeFors is in his second-year as starter, with all-world recruit Brohm waiting to replace him. The running game of Lionel Gates and Eric Shelton will once again be unstoppable. There's questions in the receiver corps and the offensive line needs some reshuffling, but Petrino is a bit of an offensive genius, so the Cards should adjust. Even after the loss of Day, the defensive will once again be underrated. They need to prove all of us nay-sayers wrong and step up to their potential on that side of the ball. Otherwise, it will be another season of what could have been due to a few stinging losses they need not accept.

In league play, the Cardinals don't have to play Southern Mississippi, although there is a game at Memphis against the improved Tigers. Still, the Cards play TCU at Papa John's Stadium, which helps. They won't be tested non-league wise until Oct. 14 when they meet Miami. They have the offense to challenge the Canes, but the defense will, as we promised, be the team's barometer reading for this contest and, subsequently, the entire year.

A conference championship and a seventh consecutive bowl appearance shouldn't be a problem if the Cards take care of business at home and knock off a good Memphis team on the road. It would be a nice stepping stone for Louisville, who leaves C-USA for bigger and better things in the Big East in 2005. But Louisville will likely disappoint in the end based on marginal special teams, which we all know decide a few games each campaign. Once this squad can display the same parity throughout, like they already have on offense, then it will be a Top 10 ranking for sure. Until then, the Cardinals will flash-in-the-pan but fizzle in the end.

Projected 2004 record: 9-2
QB - 4.5 DL - 3
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 4 DB - 2
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Stefan LeFors, 357-219-10, 3145 yds., 17 TD

Rushing: Lionel Gates, 141 att., 817 yds., 11 TD

Receiving: J.R. Russell, 75 rec., 1213 yds., 8 TD

Scoring: Lionel Gates, 11 TD, 66 pts.

Punting: Brent Moody, 51 punts, 39.6 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Robert McCune, 140 tot., 81 solo, 5 TFL

Sacks: Marcus Jones, 9 sacks

Antoine Harris, 3 for 0 yds.; Kerry Rhodes, 3 for 33 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Broderick Clark, 42 ret., 19.5 avg.

Punt Returns: Robert Haskins, 23 ret., 7.7 avg.


WR J.R. Russell


OFFENSE: Dan Koons-C, Jerry Spencer-OG, Ronnie Ghent-TE, Richard Owens-TE, Nate Smith-K
DEFENSE: Scott Lopez-DT, Rod Day-WLB, J.T. Haskins-CB, Josh Minkins-CB

Louisville hasn't had many quarterbacks like Stefan LeFors. He's mobile, has a lively arm and has a good grasp of the offense. And, like most Cardinals quarterbacks in recent years, he played well enough to earn first-team all league honors. Sophomore Justin Rascatti, however, has a better arm and could someday lead this offense to big things. Of course, one-time prep All-American Michael Bush has more potential than LeFors and Rascatti put together, but his future is at running back. Or is it wide receiver? Then there's freshman Brian Brohm, who was named the USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year in 2003 and is one of the top recruits to ever sign at Louisville. This position is awash with talent for years to come.

Running Back
Lionel Gates runs with speed and power and stole some of the spotlight away from Florida State-transfer Eric Shelton. Like Gates, Shelton is huge (245 pounds) and loves to pound defenders. Together, they form the most punishing rushing duo in Conference USA. Don't forget about Bush, the best all-round athlete on the team, who will also see time at wide receiver.

Wide Receiver
Perhaps the best deep threat in C-USA is J.R. Russell who had a breakout year in '03. At 6-3, he provides a huge target. Russell will once again be the primary receiver while others like Bush and Joshua Tinch will have to share. All three are field-stretchers, meaning defenses have to play back when they head down field. Backups extend the depth adequately, meaning opponents will be seeing capable hands in each position of their three-receiver sets.

Tight End
This position will be wide open. Gone is Ronnie Ghent, one of the nation's best, as well as massive backup Richard Owens. Sophomore Wayne Riles has the size, speed, smarts, and especially hands to be the next great Louisville TE. The Cardinals mince no words when telling all of how they openly target this position for success. With the balance this team reflects, it is no wonder we feel this way about both Riles and Thomas Boyce's chances of positively impacting Louisville's assured offensive flare.

Offensive Line
Tackles Travis Leffew and Renardo Foster, along with guard Jason Spitz, are the lone returning starters from a strong unit. LT Leffew is the best athlete of the group and has improved tremendously since arriving on campus, while Spitz is capable of playing either guard position. Senior center Will Rabatin is solid when healthy. This was an improved unit that allowed only 13 sacks and provided plenty of holes for the running game. Still, some experience is gone and injuries have always been a problem. But look for this dimension to again shine as enough experience will make 5.7 yards per carry close to what the running game again averages.

The Cardinals will be fun to watch. Head coach Bobby Petrino's entertaining product averaged a staggering 36.2 points (ranked 15th in nation) and 488 yards per game of total offense (ranked 5th in I-A). But most important is their balance - they were one of a handful of teams to average 200 yards per game both on the ground and through the air, making for an offense that will again keep defenses guessing and constantly on their heels. Louisville runs 60% and passes 40% of the time, making it obvious that if the ground game is clicking, they need only pass to assure defensive honesty which ultimately produces more grinding, incremental success. The good news is most of the main cogs return. LeFors has two all-league tailbacks to hand off to and a potential all-American wide receiver. When the ball gets to Bush, something wonderful generally happens. Quality depth at wide receiver won't be a problem, and the offensive line needs a slight overhaul but remains solid.


QB Stefan LeFors


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Stefan LeFors-Sr (6-0, 200) Justin Rascati-So (6-2, 207)
FB Adam McCauley-Sr (6-4, 232) James Jackson-So (6-1, 238)
RB Eric Shelton-Jr (6-2, 247) Lionel Gates-Sr (6-0, 225)
Michael Bush-So (6-2, 240)
WR J.R. Russell-Sr (6-3, 204) Tiger Jones-Sr (5-11, 181)
WR Joshua Tinch-Sr (6-3, 215) Robert Haskins-Jr (5-11, 158)
WR Broderick Clark-Jr (6-0, 194) Montrell Jones-Jr (6-0, 199)
TE Wayne Riles-So (6-4, 240) Thomas Boyce-Fr (6-5, 221)
OT Travis Leffew-Jr (6-4, 297) Jeremy Darveau-Jr (6-7, 312)
OG Jason Spitz-Jr (6-4, 308) Danny Barlowe-Fr (6-5, 290)
C Will Rabatin-Sr (6-1, 304) P.J. Tavarczky-So (6-3, 294)
OG Kurt Quarterman-Jr (6-3, 366) Bubba Marshall-Jr (6-5, 285)
OT Renardo Foster-So (6-5, 327) Michael Sturgeon-So (6-3, 288)
K Arthur Carmody-Fr (5-8, 181) Todd Flannery-Fr (6-1, 170)



Defensive Line
In his first season as a starter, defensive Marcus Jones delivered 10 sacks and an all-league performance. At 235 pounds he isn't that big, but has tremendous speed and great instincts. Bobby Leffew has been a solid player at both end and tackle, although leg injuries have hampered him throughout most of his career. He will be inside to start as things look now. Pencil in junior Montavious Stanley to spell the departed Scott Lopez, while junior Elvis Dumervil provides depth at end. Freshman Shane Bailey is the wildcard who will either inject the needed life, or add to the unreached potential of this crew. This group was outstanding at times with Jones always dancing in the backfield and not allowing much against the run. But they ultimately ranked 76th against the run, so this group has (its work cut out so as) to challenge themselves to keep teams under four per rush this campaign.

Former special teams gem Robert McCune is the man now. It can be argued that McCune was the unit's glue last season after leading the Cards in tackles. Still, important departee-Day's presence cannot be overlooked. Junior Brandon Johnson is blessed with speed and is a quality cover man. Dariontae Taylor is a smallish burner with safety speed and instincts. Senior Jonathan Jackerson has good size and, from sideline-to-sideline, will be the only experienced, upperclass depth here. While the linebacking corps is quick and athletic, they are not as deep as a year ago, and this could spell trouble with the already green elements of the front-four.

Defensive Back
Senior Kerry Rhodes, a former quarterback, is the most experienced of the safeties, but Brent Johnson, the team's second leading tackler, is perhaps more versatile. But Rhodes and Johnson have both been bypassed for greener, yet more-talented players in underclassmen Malik Jackson and Brandon Sharp. These replacements are not to say all won't be employed in nickel and ime scenarios, but this all bodes well for an average unit from '03. Antoine Harris was a wideout, but proved to be more valuable defensive back. William Gay is another DB/CB who has made it to the top of his position's listing on spring depth charts. Gay's nose for the ball will make this unit assuredly tighter in '03.

The Cards offense got the majority of the credit for the team's success, but the defense is often (but not consistently enough) as good and improved as the past season progressed. Rhodes and McCune are stars in their own right, and that makes the back-seven seem improved to us as we sit now. But much has to be done to make this bottom-third defense a better overall unit, and sizing up the players makes us believe they will have to play over their heads, so to speak, for results this way. The secondary will improve, and so should most areas as a majority of the starters are back. The defense will be the true measure for 2004 Cardinal team destiny - we know the offense will click.


LB Robert McCune


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Shane Bailey-Fr (6-3, 277) Elvis Dumervil-Jr (6-0, 244)
DT Montavious Stanley-Jr (6-2, 305) Tyrone Saterfield-Sr (6-2, 311)
DT Bobby Leffew-Sr (6-4, 289) Amobi Okoye-So (6-2, 317)
DE Marcus Jones-Sr (6-2, 234) Chad Rimpsey-Jr (6-3, 244)
SLB Brandon Johnson-Jr (6-5, 208) Jonathon Jackerson-Sr (6-2, 229)
MLB Robert McCune-Sr (6-0, 244) Preston Smith-Fr (6-1, 212)
WLB Deriontac Taylor-So (5-8, 220) Willie Johnson-Fr (6-0, 212)
CB Antoine Harris-Sr (5-10, 184) Early McCray-Fr (5-9, 194)
CB William Gay-So (5-11, 179) Antoine Sharp-Jr (6-1, 196)
SS Brent Johnson-Jr (5-10, 201) Malik Jackson-Fr (6-2, 219)
FS Kerry Rhodes-Sr (6-3, 205) Brandon Sharp-So (5-10, 181)
P Brent Moody-So (6-0, 200) ..



Arthur Carmody is now the man. He comes in clean and with high expectations, so see this area as tentative until proven.

Sophomore Brent Moody dislodged the inconsistent Wade Tydlacka and looks like he will hold the job for the next three years.

Return Game
The return game is again in the hands of Broderick Clark, although his numbers were slightly down. Diminutive Robert Haskins will again handle punts. More has to come from here if this team is to win in tight, ball-control/field-position battles.


Any doubts about Stefan LeFors must end RIGHT NOW! The senior lit up both the defense and the scoreboard in the spring game, with a 30-for-39, 424 yard, four TD performance. The young man is just amazing. WR J.R. Russell was the biggest beneficiary of LeFors' hot hand, catching eleven passes for 125 yards and a couple scores. Joshua Tinch also got involved downfield, trafficking 138 yards. You can forget about (former) backup-QB Justin Rascati, who has transferred to James Madison. That means frosh phenom Brian Brohm is inserted in the #2 spot. But do coaches really want to burn his redshirt this year? The Cards are loaded with depth, so keeping the score down in late stages of the game may be tough. SR TE/FB Adam McCauley saw a more-than-expected amount of passes thrown his way this spring, so his role looks to be more inclusive. PK Arthur Carmody has looked good and will put the Cards in a promising position when the need arises.

Tyrone Saterfield, a starter at DT last year, will not return. His loss leaves the DL even thinner now. The departure prompted coaches to move DE Elvis Dumervil inside. MLB Robert "The Hammer" McCune had off-season knee surgery, but is expected to recover in time for fall practice. RSF Preston Smith has done a nice job filling in. RSF Matt Sanders hopes to have fully recovered, for the staff and fans are real high on this young talent. The speculation about moving Michael Bush to the defensive side of the ball is true. He'll either line up at OLB or safety when he's in. The guy is a superior athlete, so the move doesn't shock us. He'll continue to play on the offensive side of the ball too. With the secondary taking the brunt of last year's defensive blame, this group has steadily improved. FS Kerry Rhodes showed he is the heart of this group, emerging as a leader, both vocally and kinesthetically. Coaches also like the help that J.T. Haskins gives them at CB. True frosh Bobby Buchanan (brother of Atlanta Falcon, Ray Buchanan) will see action, mixing in with the inexperienced group of reserves.

LB Preston Smith (rsf)
RB Reggie Bradshaw (rsf)
LB Matt Sanders (rsf)
CB Bobby Buchanan (fr)