SUNDAY GAME IS PRIME TIME
University of Louisville coach Charlie Strong said a season-opening game against archrival Kentucky on a Sunday – ESPN – is a perfect scenario for his team.
The game is slated for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff and is one of just two games on the college football schedule the day before Labor Day. The other game is Baylor vs. Southern Miss to be kicked off at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s a great thing for both programs,” Strong said. “We have a Sunday where there are only two teams playing that day and you get that exposure and people get to see both teams. More importantly, recruits get to see you on TV.”
Strong said his team would begin preparation for UK on Tuesday and said his team knows the Wildcats are going to be a tough opponent.
He said the two teams have a lot of similarities – especially youth. Louisville has only nine seniors and UK has 17 seniors, while some of those are not regulars.
“It’s going to be all about the preparation,” Strong said. “You are looking at two young football teams. You have to see who can develop their leadership early.”
BRIDGEWATER’S BELK BEATING
Strong has told the story several times during the preseason about last year’s Belk Bowl when freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was banged up.
Bridgewater took a beating against N.C. State and Strong said one time he wen to his quarterback and asked if he was OK and Bridgewater said, “I don’t know.”
Strong said he told him he had to keep playing.
In a recent interview, Bridgewater was asked just how bad he was injured during the game and his response: “I couldn’t get out of bed the first two days.”
Bridgewater said it took him a few weeks to feel better.
“It was rough,” he said with a smile.
SENIOR LEADERS EMERGING
Strong said not only are a few senior leaders emerging but as fall camp has progressed some of the younger players are also becoming leaders.
On Tuesday, Strong said he was pleased with his team’s leadership efforts.
“We have some outstanding leaders in the senior class, we have enough guys in there who are leaders that they’re doing a good job,” Strong said, mentioning Daniel Brown, Will Stein, Mario Benavides and Nate Nord.
“The whole team right now, with the numbers that have played in games are being some of the leaders. We have to have that. The seniors are doing just fine but some of those guys just haven’t played in games, so others had to step up too.”
BROWN LOVES HIS LINE
Junior running back Dominique Brown, one of three players still fighting for the starting spot in the backfield, said the offensive line this preseason has been perhaps the best since he’s been at U of L.
”They are the most physical offensive line I have been a part of here,” Brown said. “They are physical and very athletic as well. I think also it’s because they are a year older and learn and trust the scheme more.”
Now, Brown or Senorise Perry or Jeremy Wright - or some combination of the three - has to help the big guys in the trenches by using their blocks, finding holes and running hard.
”I am pretty sure all of us want to be the guy,” Brown said. “We all have our goals and it’s to be that guy and we all want to be 1,000-yard rusher.”
Brown, who started last season at the quarterback position, was moved to running back and is the leading returning rusher with 533 yards.
“I found a home last year,” Brown said. “Now it’s been stable. I came into spring with goals and having a full camp with the running backs, working on the things I need to work on, is big for me. Last year, I was learning.
“I was thrown into the running back position and I didn’t mind. But now I know the position and trust the scheme.”
QUOTE OF THE CAMP
Leave it to defensive coordinator Vance Bedford to come up with one of the best lines of the camp. At media day, Bedford was talking about his defense and how young some of the guys on the field will be this season.
He said it’s a challenge to get young guys to make an impact:
“On paper and on video, you like what you see. When you get out there (onto the playing field) you don't know. They might start crying and I might have to bring some Pampers out there."
A FEW LEAGUE NUGGETS
Here are a few nuggets from around the Big East:
***Temple running back Montel Harris spoke out this week for the first time since he was dismissed from Boston College, where he was the school’s all-time career rushing leader. Harris said he doesn’t regret his actions.
“I think everything happens for a reason,” Harris told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everyone doesn’t know what happened. . . . The people who really need to know what’s going on, they know what happened. We can go from there.
Harris rushed for 3,735 yards and had 22 100-yard games at Boston College.
***ESPN.com reported on Wednesday that sources confirmed Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham is unlikely to play in the opener against Youngstown State. He is coming off a torn ligament in his right knee.