Louisville Football: Cardinals' first spring practice a success
The Cardinals are coming off an 11-win season, highlighted by a monumental victory over the No. 3 Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. It is arguably considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history.
Louisville, an early favorite to take home the conference championship outright in its last season as a member of the Big East, picked up where it left off in its first practice of the New Year on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s good to be back in the swing of things,” said coach Charlie Strong, following the team’s practice inside the Trager Center indoor facility. “The thing about spring ball is that it’s all about fundamentals and technique. It was a good today and I’m just happy about the way we came out and how we handled things.”
Unlike many of its counterparts, Louisville returns a lot of upperclassmen to the field in 2013 and has lucked out on an incredibly talented group of seniors – including six on the defensive side of the ball.
Add in the leadership of junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater – who is expected to be a legitimate contender to win the Heisman Trophy this year – and the Cards are poised to repeat and improve on their numbers from 2012.
“The thing about Teddy is that he is so humble,” said Strong. “He doesn’t want that praise. He wants to go play and let his play speak for himself. We don’t need to promote Teddy Bridgewater because we play as a team and win as a team.
“It’s good to have a veteran team of guys that know exactly what to do and how to do it,” he added. “This is our first senior class since we’ve been here.”
Bridgewater isn’t the only star Strong will be working with this spring and summer. Highly-touted transfers Gerald Christian (tight end) and Robert Clark (wide receiver) are already showing that they belong in the starting lineup, as both should allow the passing game to grow.
Louisville also returns running back Dominique Brown to the starting roster, who missed the entire 2012 season due to injury. This could end up being the difference from a Cardinal backfield that struggled to find leeway through the gaps and averaged just 122.7 yards per game on the ground (105th overall).
Still, there seemed to be a reoccurring theme for at least the opening day: unity.
“It’s all about the team,” Strong said. “We have a lot of individual talent; no one can achieve anything without everyone working together.”
Louisville’s spring practice session will conclude on April 13, when it holds its annual Red and White game.
*All quotes were obtained first-hand.