Louisville pre-spring practice notes
Practice was closed to media and fans, but we were able to catch up with coach Charlie Strong and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater afterward.
Here are some pre-spring notes for the team:
- Louisville returns seven starters on offense and 10 on defense. This includes Bridgewater and his top receiving target DeVante Parker, who earned first-team Big East honors last season. Defensively, the Cardinals bring back what looks to be one of the best safety combinations in the country with Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor in the secondary.
- One of the biggest focuses this spring will be the development of Kamran Joyer, who takes over for first-team Big East center Mario Benavides. Benavides started in every single game he played (47), so it’ll be interesting to see how Louisville – and Bridgewater – adjusts to this change.
- Speaking of the offensive line, Louisville needs to become more consistent protecting Bridgewater and opening holes for its running backs. Veterans John Miller, Jake Smith and Jamon Brown will have to step up and become leaders for the front wall, while Abraham “Nacho” Garcia must rise to the occasion and fill in for departing second-team Big East left tackle Alex Kupper.
- Charlie Strong told us that Dominique Brown is currently their guy at running back. Brown was the starter in 2011 before missing the entire 2012 season with an injury. He is a powerful back that should help the Cards find more balance on offense.
- Highly touted Florida transfer Gerald Christian is everything expected and more at the tight end position. “He’s a machine,” said Bridgewater of his new toy. “He’ll go across the middle; catch a ball with three defenders on his back, he can block, he’ll pancake guys, and he’s an offensive lineman, running back and wide receiver in one body.” The team is also very excited about transfer Robert Clark's speed element.
- It looks as if true freshman Finesse Middleton is already making a name for himself on the defensive line. Strong has given him high praise and expects him to vie for the starting spot this fall, hoping that his combination of strength and speed will give the Cards a pass rush that was lacking in 2012.
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