Archive for June, 2011

June 24, 2011

Strong Takes a Break to Meet With Local Media

Charlie Strong

Charlie Strong Audio

 
University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong took a few minutes during the slow summer months to address the local  media on a number of topics as the coaching staff heads into their vacation time in July.
 
One thing Strong needs to find before the team takes the field on Aug. 4 is who his leaders are going to be. While it might not look like a big issue to the casual fan, it’s something that Strong has taken very seriously since taking over the program.
 
When Strong took over last December, he had a large number of seniors he could rely on to get his football program back to a bowl game. With about 71 days remaining before the season opener against Murray State on Sept. 1, Strong is attempting to find a new group of seniors to build his nucleus upon for 2011. Heading into camp in August, Strong has 12 seniors in the program, who he plans to build his team upon.
 
“We are a very young football team,” said Strong.  “We have 12 seniors and we have a long way to go. A year later, we have 12 seniors. We just hope that what we accomplished spills over to this season. It was all about building confidence. Ours guys know how to work and guys understand what is expected of them in this program. You look at (Josh) Chichester and Victor Anderson. You look at Scruggs and Savoy. You are look at guys who have been in this program like Ryan Kessling and Hector Hernandez. Josh Bellamy has been in this program. There are seniors in this program that have to step up.”
 
 Even though, the senior class is small, Strong believes that he has some seniors in place who can be outstanding leaders.
 
Added Strong, “You look at a Vic Anderson, who was Freshman of the Year in this conference. You look at Greg Scruggs, who has had a great summer. We have Josh Bellamy too. It’s not a large group like we had last year. It’s a small group. The foundation was laid by the seniors last year where guys understand that it’s important to go to class and do the right things.”
 
Teams can win or lose games in the summer months based on how hard a team works in the off-season. Through the first four weeks of the summer, Strong has been pleased with the reports he has received from the strength staff regarding the progress of his team throughout summer workouts.
 
“I always say we have the best coaching staff in the country,” Strong.  “It’s all about trust. When you get someone to believe in you and they trust what they are teaching you, guys are gonna work. That’s what those guys are doing. They are working hard and you can tell they are getting bigger and stronger.”
 
As Strong heads into his second year, the one thing he can’t stand in his program is complacency. He knows what got his team to this place, and he understands that he and his staff can’t pull back.
 
“The thing you can’t do is get complacent,” said Strong. “I always ask our guys what got us to this point. You guys worked hard and you bought into the system. The moment you start pulling back, is the moment you start losing. You can’t have any drawbacks. I haven’t changed at all. Now that we are in year two and you see progress, I want to continue to move forward.”
 
While coaches live to coach, the football season is a grind so Strong doesn’t want to wish his summer away. 
 
“I still want to take that one more month because I know when its over with it’s time to go to work,” said Strong. “The season is going to be here before we know it. The summer passes quickly. I’m enjoying watching my daughter play volleyball. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”
 
The Cardinals begin fall practice on Aug. 4.
June 23, 2011

Summer Opponent Preview – Murray State

Victor Anderson
Senior Victor Anderson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In a nationally televised game shown on ESPNU, Louisville opens the second season under Charlie Strong with a visit from Murray State on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 6 p.m.

Murray State, which finished 6-5 last season under first-year head coach Chris Hatcher, was one of the better offensive teams in FCS, averaging 36.1 points per game and 449.7 yards of total offense. Quarterback Casey Brockman is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation after throwing for 2,442 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago. It was on the defensive side of the football where Murray State has to get better.

The Racers allowed 30.4 points per game and almost 400 yards of total offense last year.

The Cardinals handled the Racers 73-10 in the last meeting between the two schools in 2007 and own an 11-6 series advantage. Louisville has won the last three games in the series and haven’t lost to Murray since 1984 – a 26-23 Racers win in Louisville.

Offensive Player to Watch
After taking over the starting job towards the end of the previous two seasons, Casey Brockman enters the 2011 season as the clear-cut starter to lead the ‘Hatch Attack.’ Brockman enters the season rated as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the FCS according to The Sports Network. Despite starting just six games a season ago, Brockman completed 213-of-320 for 2,442 yards and 15 touchdowns, while only throwing six interceptions. The self proclaimed wild horse also rushed for 292 yards and seven touchdowns. He made the most of his first start of the season by throwing for a school-record 570 yards and seven touchdowns. He followed that by setting a single-game record for attempts (58) and completions (41) in a victory over Eastern Illinois. Brockman nearly became the first quarterback to throw for more than 500 yards in a game twice, when he fell just short with a 497-yard passing performance against Austin Peay. In the season finale, Brockman added another record. He became the second signal caller in school history to pass for 300 yards and rush for a 100 yards when he went for 300 yards passing and 112 on the ground in a victory over Tennessee State.

Defensive Players to Watch
Strength in numbers is the approach that the Racers take with their defensive line. MSU returns eight players that were in the regular rotation a season ago. Senior defensive end Jamal Crook returns for his fourth season as a starter on the defensive front. Over his first three years, Crook has posted 5.5 sacks and 18 tackles-for-loss. Senior Richard Biers emerged from spring practice as the starter on the end opposite of Crook. Biers posted 12 tackles and forced a fumble in 11 games a season ago. Senior Joe Gamsky emerged last season as a force in the middle and continued his work this spring. Gamsky tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks, while ranking second with eight tackles-for-loss. He also forced two fumbles and had three quarterback hurries.

Connections
Murray State assistant coach Kenny Parker played for and coached with Charlie Strong at the University of Florida. Parker spent 10 seasons at Florida as a player and a coach.

Oddity
This marks the second consecutive mid-week nationally televised game between Louisville and Murray State. Louisville opened the 2007 season on Thursday night on ESPNU.

June 21, 2011

CardsTV – Greg Scruggs Interview

Louisville Cardinals’ senior defensive tackle Greg Scruggs spoke with the media about summer workouts and the upcoming season on June 16.

  • Head coach Charlie Strong spent time at The Down Syndrome of Louisville Pro Celebrity Golf Tournament at Audobon Country Club on Monday. Click here to see the story.

  • June 20, 2011

    CardsTV – Mario Benavides Interview

    Louisville Cardinals’ junior center Mario Benavides spoke with the media about summer workouts and the upcoming season on June 16.

    June 17, 2011

    CardsTV – Josh Chichester Interview

    Louisville Cardinals’ senior tight end Josh Chichester spoke with the media about summer workouts and the upcoming season on June 16.

  • ESPN BIG EAST blogger Andrea Adelson spoke with offensive coordinator Mike Sanford about the upcoming season. To read what Sanford said, and for interesting tidbits, click here.

  • June 16, 2011

    Scruggs Ready to Put Spring Behind Him

    Greg Scruggs
    Senior Greg Scruggs is back at full strength heading into fall camp

    “The Pit” is a place where no one wants to be. It’s a three-letter word that no University of Louisville football wants to hear that they are headed to when practice starts. What looks like Muscle Beach or maybe something more of a prison yard, “The Pit” is basically an outdoor weight room equipped a bench press station, pushing a stair master with your hands, medicine balls and dumbbells. It’s every injured player’s nightmare.

    For senior Greg Scruggs, it’s a place that gives him the shakes every time he thinks of it. The 6-4, 280-pound defensive lineman had surgery on his groin that caused him to miss the entire spring, which is hard for a player with Scruggs’ passion and work ethic. Scruggs was stuck in there from the start of spring until end, but it’s something that made him bigger and stronger.

    For the rest of the story, Click Here.

    June 14, 2011

    Louisville’s New Away Game Jerseys

    Away Game Jersey
    Here is an example of Louisville’s new football away game jerseys to be worn for the 2011 season.

    June 13, 2011

    Will Stein

    Will Stein continues and completes update on daily routine as a college football player in the summer.

    Quarterback Will Stein, who previously provided some insight on a routine day for a college football player in the summer, continued his earlier posting and wrapped up how a typical day goes.

    By Will Stein

    A typical weight room session for a football player consists of both upper and lower body lifts. Many lifts are functional, meaning they have a direct correlation with certain movements and techniques out on the football field. An example is a clean. These are great because it involves power, quickness, flexibility and core stabilization. The exercise is based from the floor and involves many different muscle groups. The clean relates to football in just about every way possible and I’m sure every college and professional program in the country performs cleans.

    For me, I have been on the “lineman” workout plan (according to Coach Moorer) because the coaches want me to gain some weight for the season. I’d like to gain about 10 more pounds of muscle. Quarterbacks have to be able to withstand hits throughout the course of a season and gaining weight will help me stay healthy. Weightlifting with Coach Moorer has an old school feel. He wants to put as much stress on your body as possible so when you actually go out on the field during a game or practice it is easy to push yourself and fight through any physical pain or mental stress. This approach is great especially in a sport like football where pain is the name of the game.

    8:45 am – Lift is over. My body is hurting everywhere. Have to get a Gatorade protein shake and Cheribundi supplement drink to refuel my body.

    This summer we are doing full body lifts three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; team runs on Tuesday and Thursday. We also run at the track on Monday. Coach Moorer does a good job of giving our bodies time to recover, yet pushes them to get bigger, stronger and faster.

    9:15 am – Leaving the stadium. Might drive through McDonalds to get a McGrittle. Definitely one of the greatest gifts God gave to this earth.

    11:00 am – Scholarship players have mandatory lunch at the Ville Grill on Third Street. Got to get my fill and put the weight on!

    The Ville Grill is an awesome place for us to go eat buffet style meals four days a week. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If a scholarship player misses any meal then you have to run as punishment. Free food equals good food and it is a humongous benefit for us as a team. In the past, we only received dinner. Now, Coach Strong has gotten us lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday and an extra Sunday night meal. I can’t even describe how beneficial this is for a young student-athlete. It simplifies life and fills our stomachs every time.

    11:45 am – Walking to my internship from my house. It’s only about a half mile away. Good time to put my headphones in and listen to my music.

    12:00 pm – Just getting to my internship at the Sports Information Department in the student center. Time to grind off the field!

    Interning in the Sports Information Department has been a great experience so far. I haven’t been working here too long but have been able to work the NCAA softball regional and take part in a promotional web page (I’ll reveal who later on). They also give me work to take home so I can get more hours each week. I have noticed the amount of work each SID puts in on a daily basis, and it’s crazy. But that is why they are great at their job because they work hard every day and take pride in their work. They are always busy with their respective sport and I’m the person they call on to do their busy work. But I have no complaints because the people here are great, easy-going, and fun to work with.

    Skip ahead to 4:00 pm – Leaving my internship and headed back to the stadium for some quarterback work. If you want to be great at your craft then you have to put in the work when no one is watching.

    Coach Watson, who is a phenomenal coach by the way, gave each QB a guide of all of the drills he has taught us and wants us to work on throughout the summer. It consists of a lot of movement drills, getting us to be balanced passers in the pocket. The thing about Coach Watson’s drills is that they are like a conditioning session. You definitely break a sweat and get a nice leg burn. But I love the drills and feel like they helped me become a better player this past spring.

    4:50 pm – Shower after QB drill session. Don’t want to smell. Too bad the generic soap in the showers isn’t too pleasing to the nose. Oh well.

    5:00 pm – Dinner time! Can’t wait to eat and get some quality time with my teammates. Always have fun conversations with my buddies.

    6:00 pm – Home at last. Happy we got our AC fixed. It was brutal inside when it was broken. Time to relax and play some Call of Duty: Black Ops on XBOX live. My roommate Nate Nord is a beast at the game.

    7:30 pm – Getting hungry again. I’m glad I went to the grocery lately and have some good food to eat. I’m also happy my other roommate has a George Foreman.

    From this point on, I mostly just hang out at home and try to relax while I get the chance. I also take this time to work on things for my internship.

    Certain nights of the week I like to go to the movies or hit up Dairy Kastle (Yes, it is spelled with a K). If you have never been to Dairy Kastle I strongly encourage you to go because it is heaven in your mouth. The BEST ice cream in town.

    I’m a night owl so I usually don’t go to bed to around midnight or one in the morning. But luckily on Tuesdays we don’t have football till 3:45 pm and my internship doesn’t start till noon. Needless to say I love Tuesdays and Thursdays because I get to sleep in!

    Well, hopefully you enjoyed an inside look into a day in my life. This schedule is typical of any football player at U of L, just replace my internship with actual class.

    Until next time, stay classy Louisville. Go Cards!

    June 10, 2011

    2011 Media Guide Covers


    Here are the front and back covers of the 2011 Football Media Guide

    The covers for the 2011 University of Louisville Football Media Guide are complete and are here for a preview. The guide will be available on July 20.  The Cardinals are scheduled to begin practice on August 4.

    June 8, 2011

    A Typical Summer Workout


    Will Stein talks about his day as a college football player in the summer.

    By Will Stein

    For most people, the summer is a time for lounging at the pool, cookouts and swimming. For Division I football players, Summer equals total body destruction.

    Summer workouts are strictly voluntary, but from a player’s perspective, they are a necessity. If you have any desire of getting bigger, stronger and faster, and sharpening up your football skills in order to have a better chance at seeing the field in the fall, you will participate in summer workouts.

    In reality, it’s a time where a team finds out what they are made of and where leaders emerge. The foundation for the season is built in winter workouts and flows into spring football. But where a team constructs the outcome of their season is in the summer. Sleep is at a premium, you’re waking up extremely early, grueling training sessions, the hot summer sun, gassers, sled pulls, running 400s on the track, up-downs, weight lifting, individual position workouts, team passing sessions, school, work, and internships. These are just some of the things we as football players have to go through on a daily basis.

    Because the mission of our team is to win a BIG EAST title, an outstanding summer in the classroom and weight room is crucial to the success we hope to achieve as a unit.

    I’d like to take you through a day of my life and the things I go through as a Division I college football player. Here is what my day looks like while most people are probably tossing and turning in their bed.

    5:00 am – Alarm sounding…is it already five?…Snooze button

    5:05 am – Alarm sounding…alarm, please shut up…Snooze button

    5:10 am – Alarm sounding…alarm, I hate you…Snooze Button

    5:15 am – Alarm sounding…Okay! Okay! I’m getting up!

    I think almost every athlete can attest to setting multiple alarms in the morning to make sure you don’t oversleep a workout, especially in the summer workout months leading up to a season.

    5:16 am – The covers on my bed feel better than ever. But I better get up, brush my teeth, possibly eat some sort of breakfast bar or cereal, and get to the football complex before Coach Moorer rips me to pieces for being late.

    5:25 am – Still half asleep even after I drove to the complex blasting Bob and Tom in the Morning with the windows down. The walk to the football complex doors from the parking lot is like a walk of death. It’s so long plus I just know I’m going to get physically dominated by the workout I’m about to participate in.

    5:30 am – I’m changed into my workout gear and hearing the chatter about what people think the run will be this morning. The offensive linemen always gossip about what they think or what they have heard the conditioning workout will be, but they are rarely right. Whatever, time to suck up all of my tiredness and soreness and work hard with the team.

    5:35 am – Since it’s a Monday, this means a team run at Cardinal Park out on the track. Definitely the most difficult conditioning workout of the week since we aren’t built as football players to handle long distances. Have to get in my car and drive over to the parking garage across the street from Card Park. Thoughts of distress and agony creep into the back of my mind as I imagine Coach Moorer’s whistle constantly blowing, signaling each group to start their run.

    5:45 am – Stretch lines. Have to get warmed up before we start the run workout. Only thing is, our warmup is a workout within itself. Still, no excuses, play like a champion (rule #76, yes from the Wedding Crashers, hahahaha).

    Note: -Skill Group = Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Defensive Backs, and Safeties
    -Big Skill Group = Quarterbacks, Tight Ends, Specialists, Defensive Ends, and Linebackers
    -Big Group = Offensive and Defensive Line

    6:00 am – “We have 400s. Skills, your goal time is 65 seconds. Big Skill, your goal time is 70 seconds. Bigs, your goal time is 75 seconds. Skills up! (Whistle blows)” This is the basic command of Coach Moorer to start the first repetition at the track.

    Doesn’t sound too intimidating on paper, but when you are there, in person, with this gargantuan man who barely ever smiles or cracks a joke, the intimidation factor is off the charts. You know he means business by just looking at him. But, since I am on my fourth summer of summer football workouts, I know what to expect. Being an experienced college student-athlete allows my mind to cope with anything thrown at me. I always tell myself, ‘mind over body’, which basically means nothing is ever too hard to complete, no matter how worn out you are, how badly your body hurts, or how hot it is outside. If you go through life with a strong, tough mind, then anything is possible.

    6:30 am – I’m on my last rep of 400s. My legs are dead tired and breathing is heavy. I can’t bend over or show any type of pain or exhaustion or else I’ll cost the whole team extra running or “up-downs”.

    400-meter sprints are extremely difficult, especially after eight of them. When you hit the 300-meter mark your legs start to burn profusely and feel as if they are caught in cement. Definitely one of the hardest types of running you can do because it is sprinting for a full minute and ten seconds. It’s funny though when everyone is running together in a big cluster. You feel guys fight for an inside position like it’s the Kentucky Derby and draft behind the pace setter to conserve energy. More strategy is involved in summer conditioning than you may think. Unlike the youngsters of the teams, the veterans of the group know how to run sprints and not die out early.

    6:45 am – Conditioning is finished. “Everyone down! Ab circuit!” Coach Moorer barks out more commands (no pun intended) for the team. Just when you think the workout is finished, you are blindsided with something else.

    Abs aren’t too bad though and core strength is a must for any athlete, especially the quarterback position. Good core strength equals a stronger and more accurate passer.

    7:00 am – Back at the stadium. Time to get ready to lift at 7:15 am for an hour and a half. Morning has just started.

    7:15 am – Weight room time. Well, after looking at the workout posted on the weight racks, it seems as if Coach Moorer has no recollection of the intense, hard, exhausting run we just had less than an hour ago. We have about fifteen exercises to complete. No time for crying and complaining though. Let the grind begin!

    Tune in later for the rest of my day!!!!