By Andrew Haddad
A lot has happened to the Univeristy of Louisville football program in the last two years. The hiring of Charlie Strong as the head coach last year has rejuvenated the belief that the Cardinals can get back to their winning ways. One short year later, Charlie Strong can say proudly that he accomplished something that Steve Kragthorpe was never able to do— and it is not just having a winning record – he made University of Louisville football relevant again in a number of ways, which might be Strong’s most impressive feat. From recruiting to national news coverage, Strong got the word out about Cardinal football this summer.
The media frenzy surrounding U of L football was sparked after the resignation of Florida Coach, Urban Meyer, last January leading to speculation that Florida was going to hire Strong, the ex-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Florida. It never happened though and Strong went on to parlay the media attention he and Cardinal football were getting into a solid recruiting class. It was highlighted by a couple of highly rated four-star prospects. The two most talked about were freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and freshman wide receiver DeVante Parker, neither expected to start this year. And while a good recruiting class is always great for the future, it regretfully won’t have much of an impact on this year’s win-loss tally.
The Cardinals are going to be a very veteran-laden team this year with eight of the starting eleven on offense and six of the eleven on defense as upper classmen. This means that the Cardinals will be experienced this year, and ideally that experience will translate into good play and ultimately wins for the team. What is for certain is that Charlie Strong will have the team ready to go when the season starts and, with one look at Charlie Strong, you’ll believe it too. Simply put—the man is intimidating, and right after you see him or talk to him, or really have any interaction with him, you immediately want to go do a couple bench sets in the Student Activities Center. It is safe to say that expectations are higher than ever this year for Cardinal football. Is it warranted? Maybe, maybe not— then again, as Chris Berman says, “That’s why we play the game.”