Over 3,000 fans surrounded the Louisville football practice field next to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Friday evening and Saturday morning to get the first glimpse of Charlie Strong’s 2012 Louisville Cardinals. We’re less than a month away from the start of the season and after getting a small taste of what they’ll see on the field this season, I think the next few weeks will go by extremely slow for Louisville fans.
Entering year three of the Charlie Strong era here at Louisville, I think it’s safe to say that the level of talent may be as good now as it’s been in the last decade. There isn’t a Michael Bush or Brian Brohm on the roster, but the overall depth on this year’s team more than makes up for that. The amount of depth for Louisville at the skill positions may be this team’s strongest asset. There is no denying that this team is still relatively young, but the talent is there.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is receiving more pre-season hype than any player in the Louisville program. His performances at Louisville’s opening practices lead me to believe that Teddy is more than ready to live up to the high expectations. Teddy looks bigger, stronger and very poised. Bridgewater is now 222 pounds, which is 42 pounds heavier than when he arrived on campus. Teddy seemed a little too humble to embrace the title “face of the program” which his teammates labeled him, but there’s no doubt that he is ready to be the leader of this team.
The wide receiver position is without a doubt Louisville’s deepest position on the field. Eli Rogers, DeVante Parker, Michaelee Harris, Scott Radcliff and Andrell Smith are the receivers most fans are familiar with, but those guys aren’t the only route-runners that will see the field this season. Redshirt junior Damian Copeland looked very good over the weekend. Copeland is finally 100% healthy after struggling with injuries over the past two seasons. Tennessee transfer Matt Milton won’t be able to play this season due to the NCAA transfer rule, but he was also very impressive in practice.
The running back corp. is definitely something to get excited about, however Charlie Strong mentioned last week at the Big East media day that he’s looking for an every-down back. In my opinion, I think Dominique Brown or Jeremy Wright are more than capable of the job. Senorise Perry had as good of a spring as anyone on the Louisville roster and Corvin Lamb is simply too fast to keep off the field. I’ve never been a big fan of running-back by committee, but with the current depth chart that’s likely what we will see. All four guys will receive carries this year. Jeremy Wright is the guy to keep an eye on. Wright was banged up last season as a sophomore, but showed some flashes of brilliance as a redshirt freshman. I think Wright is a lot better than some people know.
In my opinion, this is the first year that we’ve actually seen a defense that looks like a “Charlie Strong Defense.” The secondary has tremendous speed and talent and the front seven is massive in size. Preston Brown and Daniel Brown will be your leaders at linebacker while freshman Keith Brown was participating with the first string over the weekend. Enrolling early definitely looks to have paid off for Brown.
Here are a few post-practice interviews from Charlie Strong and some of the Louisville players, courtesy of CardsTV