University of Louisville head football coach Bobby Petrino met the media to officially kick off the start of the 2017 campaign on Wednesday afternoon.

The players reported for the start of camp, sitting through compliance, academic and team meetings before having their first dinner as an entire team.

Beginning his eighth season with the Cardinals, Petrino, first-year defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon, and co-offensive coordinator previewed the opening of fall practice, which begins on July 31 at 4 p.m.

“I think we have a team that worked extremely hard all summer long,” Petrino said. “We finished our testing over the last couple days and they did a good job. We have a few guys who have reduced their body fat and have gotten faster. Overall as a team, I’m really excited about it.”

Returning 14 starters, the Cardinals are looking to improve on last season’s 9-4 record, which saw the team drop its final three games of the season. Nine starters are back on defense, and five on an offense, which finished third in the nation.

One of the those starters returning is junior quarterback Lamar Jackson, who capped an outstanding 2016 season with the school’s first Heisman Trophy. The native of Pompano Beach, Fla., accounted for 51 touchdowns and a school record 1,571 yards rushing, while passing for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns.

“I expect Lamar to have a great year,” Galloway said. “He’s stronger, heavier, and he will have a better idea on what we want to do offensively in the passing game. I’m expecting big things from him again.”

For the second time in three seasons, the Cardinals open the year at a neutral site – facing Purdue on Sept. 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“The first game is always a challenge because there is a lot of unknown,” Petrino said. “It’s unknown what they are going to do, and it’s unknown what some of our players will do. We have to do a good job in camp putting pressure on them to perform in camp and work different situations.”