Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

Governor’s Cup Recap

Louisville football head coach Charlie Strong spoke to a crowd of hundreds at the Governor’s Cup Luncheon on July 28 at the University Club in Lexington, Ky.

Click here to access a full report along with audio from coach Strong, quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson and governor Steve Beshear.

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July 26, 2011

Tuesday’s News ‘N Notes

Cardinals Ready to Begin Practice: With just nine days remaining before the start of fall practice, head coach Charlie Strong and the entire staff is back in the office and getting ready for the start of practice on Aug. 4. The players will end off-season workouts this week before returning to campus on Aug. 3 for a 6 p.m. dinner. The Cardinals will practice at 6:10 a.m. on Aug. 4 with the varsity returning players, while the freshmen will practice together later that evening.  All practices will be closed this year.

Governor’s Cup Press Conference: The press conference for the Governor’s Cup will be held Thursday, July 28 at 12:30 p.m. at the University Club in Lexington. University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong will address the media , as well as, University of Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips.

BIG EAST Media Day: For the seventh time since joining the BIG EAST, the Cardinals will head to Newport, R.I. on Aug. 1-2 for BIG EAST Media Days. Strong, tight end Josh Chichester, running back Victor Anderson, placekicker/punter Chris Philpott and defensive lineman Greg Scruggs will all attend the Media Day proceedings.

Health Update: After 23 players were held out of the Red-White Game last April, the Cardinals head into camp at full strength. Everyone who was held out of spring returns for the start of fall practice.

Fan Day: Fan Day is scheduled for Aug. 14. Details have yet to be finalized and will be released at a later date.

Free Agent Signings: Quarterback Adam Froman and wide receiver Doug Beaumont were scheduled to sign with the Atlanta Falcons today, while tight end Cameron Graham was slated to ink with the Tennessee Titans and linebacker Brandon Heath with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Strong Family Donates to Scholarship Program: University of Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong and his family are donating $150,000 to a UofL scholarship program that helps low-income students in Kentucky earn college degrees.  Their gift will create a Charlie, Vicki, Hailee and Hope Strong Scholarship in UofL’s existing Cardinal Covenant program. Cardinal Covenant pays tuition, room and board costs not covered by other grants and scholarships for Kentucky students whose family income is at or below 150 percent of the poverty level. To qualify, students must have a high school grade point average of at least 2.5, an ACT score of 20 or higher and must graduate within five years. Since 2007, some 450 students have enrolled in the program and 25 have earned a UofL degree. Strong is making the gift through UofL’s fund raising campaign, “Charting Our Course-The Campaign for Kentucky’s Premier Metropolitan Research University.”

July 25, 2011

Strong Has Best Win Improvement in Nation

Athlon’s Magazine tabbed University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong as the best new head coaching hire for the 2010 season.

Strong took the Cardinals, who won four games in 2009, to a 7-6 record and a trip to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. The +3 win/loss improvement was the best mark for any new head coach in the country that was hired last season. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Western Kentucky’s Willie Taggart were second as they improved their squads by two games.

Below is a complete list of how the 22 new head coaches fared in 2010.

New College Football Coaches in ‘10
Coach, SCHOOL ’09 Record ’10 Record +/-
Charlie Strong, LOU 4-8 7-6 +3
Jimbo Fisher, FSU 7-6 9-4 +2
Brian Kelly, ND 6-6 8-5 +2
Willie Taggart, WKU 0-12 2-10 +2
Mike London, UVA 3-9 4-8 +1
Sonny Dykes, LA TECH 4-8 5-7 +1
Skip Holtz, USF 8-5 8-5 0
Derek Dooley, TEN 7-6 6-7 -1
Lane Kiffin, USC 9-4 8-5 -1
Todd Berry, LA MON. 6-6 5-7 -1
Tommy Tuberville, TTU 9-4 8-5 -1
Joker Phillips, UK 7-6 6-7 -1
Mike MacIntyre, SJS 2-10 1-12 -1
Larry Porter, MEM 2-10 1-11 -1
Doc Holliday, MU 7-6 5-7 -2
Turner Gill, KU 5-7 3-9 -2
Rob Ianello, AKR 3-9 1-11 -2
Ruffin McNeill, ECU 9-5 6-7 -3
Jeff Quinn, BUF 5-7 2-10 -3
Bobby Hauck, UNLV 5-7 2-11 -3
Butch Jones, CIN 12-1 4-8 -8
Dan Enos, CMU 12-2 3-9 -9
July 21, 2011

Stein Gets Ready For Camp

With about 14 days remaining until the start of fall practice, the University of Louisville football team is ready to get the second season under head coach Charlie Strong underway.

The 5:45 a.m. runs are becoming long and tedious in this extreme heat. The lifts in the weight room are becoming tiresome and hot. The players are getting restless for the start of practice on August 4 at 6 a.m.

One player excited to get started is junior quarterback Will Stein, who enters camp in a quarterback battle for the starting job with true freshman Teddy Bridgewater, one of the top quarterbacks coming out of high school.

“Camp is coming up and we’re very excited to start a new season,” said Stein. “We are looking forward to getting in pads and start practicing football, and not just running. The guys have worked hard and are in great shape.”

Heading into the second season of the Strong era, Stein and his teammates understand where the head coach is coming from after he helped guide the team to a bowl game after a three-year drought.

“After a year of coach Strong and the rest of the staff, we get a feel about what they want out of us. We really respect them because what they told us and taught us has really paid off. Looking at last season, they took our team and made us into a winning team, and everyone is excited to get the second season underway.”

There is no secret that the main battle heading into camp is the quarterback position. The most attention will obviously be placed on this position, and it’s a battle that will be fun to watch as fall camp progresses. However, you have to love Stein’s approach to the battle as he heads into his fourth season in the program.

“I hear a lot about it,” said Stein. “I just focus on my job, and my job is to be a leader on this team. I’m a winner through and through, and whoever is the best person for the job to win to make this program take a step foward, then that is who needs to play quarterback. If that is me, I’m ready for the challenge. If it’s not me, then I will be the best person to help them through that. In my mind, I’m the quarterback and that is how I’m approaching the start of fall camp.”

For a quarterback to be successful, he needs to have a good offensive line in front of him. Strong was adamant that the offensive line was the strength of the team a year ago, but four of the five starters are gone. However, Stein isn’t asking “Where’s the Beef.” He knows there is talent on the offensive line returning.

The offensive line has a lot of good players on it,” said Stein. “Mario Benavides has started 24 of 25 games and I saw where Mel Kiper has Mario as the second-best junior center in the country. Alex Kupper has really stepped up on the offensive line and can really play. Seniors Hector Hernandez and Ryan Kessling have stepped up. Jake Smith can play and offensive line coach Dave Borbely is one of the best coaches in the country.”

Stein and the Cardinals start practice on Aug. 4.

July 14, 2011

Victor Anderson on the Farm

WDRB’s Pat Doney recently sat down with Louisville senior running back Victor Anderson to discuss Anderson’s summer job at Longfield Farm.

July 11, 2011

Greg Scruggs as a Drummer Boy

WDRB’s Pat Doney shares a story on Louisville Cardinals’ senior defensive tackle Greg Scruggs and Scruggs’ days in the band as a drummer at St. Xavier High in Cincinnati, Ohio.

July 8, 2011

Cardinals Top Nation in Increased Attendance from Previous Season

The University of Louisville ranked first in the nation in the largest average attedance increase from the previous season.

With the excitement of head coach Charlie Strong and an expanded Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the Cardinals increased their average attendance from 32,450 in 2009 to 50,648 last season. The 18,198 increase was the largest in the nation, which bested Northwestern, who was second with an increase of 12,259 fans per game and Rice, who was third at 12,109.

The Cardinals open their home slate on Thursday, Sept. 1 against Murray State at 6 p.m.

July 7, 2011

Strong Tabbed Top Hire for 2010

The preseason magazines have hit the shelves and one in particular has made headlines in Louisville. Athlon’s Sports has tabbed University of Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong as the nation’s top coaching hire last season.

In his first year as a head coach, Strong guided the Cardinals to a 7-6 record, which included a win over Southern Mississippi in the Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Cardinals, who missed the pos-season for three previous seasons, played inspired football in 2010 under Strong. The Cardinals, who went 3-4 in the BIG EAST Conference, finished 14th in the country in total defense and ninth in sacks.

The Top 10, as ranked by Athlon (read the full Top 20 here):
1. Charlie Strong, Louisville

2. Jimbo Fischer, Florida State
3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
4. Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky
5. Skip Holtz, South Florida
6. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
7. Mike London, Virginia
8. Lane Kiffin, USC
9. Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech
10. Todd Berry, Louisiana Monroe

 Strong was tapped as the top hire in 2010.
 Click here to read a story on coach Charlie Strong.

July 6, 2011

Chichester Named to Mackey Award Watch List



Josh Chichester was named to the John Mackey Award preseason watch list.

BETHPAGE, N.Y. – The 2011 John Mackey Award preseason watch list has been released by the Nassau County Sports Commission and University of Louisville senior tight end Josh Chichester (West Chester, Ohio) has been named to the list. Given annually to the best collegiate tight end, the award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee. The 2011 John Mackey winner will be presented live at the Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on Dec. 8, 2011, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

For the full release, click here.

July 5, 2011

Opponent Preview – FIU

Dexter Heyman
Senior linebacker Dexter Heyman is going to be a key for the Cards’ defense this season.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In another nationally-televised game shown on ESPN, Louisville plays its second-straight home game when FIU invades Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in a 7 p.m. contest.

FIU is picked by many of the experts to win the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Championship, as well as picking senior WR/KR and Heisman hopeful T.Y. Hilton as the Offensive Player of the Year.

The Panthers are coming off a 7-6 season that saw them capture the program’s first-ever conference championship as well as the the team’s first bowl berth and victory, a 34-32 win over Toledo in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Quarterback Wes Carroll returns to lead the offense, throwing for 2,623 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago, completing 61.6 percent of his throws.

Offensive Player to Watch
Senior wide receiver/kick returner and Heisman hopeful T.Y. Hilton, the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, is one of the most dangerous and explosive players in the entire country.

In his career, Hilton has already returned four kickoffs for touchdown, including one in 2009 against eventual BCS National Champion Alabama, and has averaged 26.5 yards per kick return.

Last December, Hilton wowed the football world with his performance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, leading FIU to a 34-32 victory. In the game, Hilton caught one touchdown and scored another on an 89-yard kickoff return. However, the biggest play of the game was a 4th-and-17 play in which Hilton was on the back-end of a “Hook and Ladder,” and tip-toed his way down the sideline to pick up the first down and keep FIU in the game.

A former Freshman All-American, Hilton is already FIU’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 5,602. Last season, Hilton led the Panthers with 59 catches for 848 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for 282 yards and four scores. Perhaps the biggest game of his career came against ULM on Nov. 6, when he amassed 291 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns, two on receptions, one rushing and one on a kick return.

Defensive Players to Watch
Josh Forney (DL), Tourek Williams (DL), Winston Fraser (LB) and Jonathan Cyprien (DB) are All-Conference caliber players. Forney, Williams, Fraser and Cyprien are all coming off stellar seasons that helped the Panthers’ defense lead the conference in total defense, scoring defense and turnover margin.

Forney, playing defensive tackle, recorded 26 tackles, including three for loss and 1.5 sacks. Williams, a junior defensive end, had six sacks in 2010, which is the most among returning players. Fraser had 72 tackles in the 2010 season, including nine for loss. He also had a key interception late in FIU’s victory over ULM. Cyprien, a Second-Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2010, led the Panthers in tackles last year with 113, which is the fourth-best single-season total in FIU history.

Connections
FIU assistant coach Greg Laffere and Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt both played at the University of Miami. Laffere’s playing career included two years at the University of Miami (Fla.), where he started 16 games on the offensive line and helped the Hurricanes win a National Championship in 2001. As a senior at Miami, Laffere was part of an offensive line that only allowed eight sacks in 340 passing plays on the season. He also helped anchor an offense that totaled a school-record 469 points, while averaging a Big East-best 460.8 yards of total offense per game in 2000. Afterwards, he was named the winner of Miami’s Unsung Hero Award presented annually by the Hurricane coaching staff. Hurtt was a three-year letterman for the Hurricanes as a defensive lineman. He signed with Miami in 1997 and played extensively as a freshman before redshirting in 1998 to recover from an injury. Hurtt returned to the lineup and saw extensive action in 1999 and 2000 before an injury prior to the 2001 season ended his playing career.

Oddity
This will be the first meeting between the two schools.