The average Louisville football fan rolled their eyes a year ago at this time when first-year head coach Charlie Strong declared that senior running back Bilal Powell was "the face of the program."
It wasn't an unfair reaction, as Powell's reputation at that time was more centered around his inability to hold onto the football than his game-breaking speed or agility. Powell never publicly addressed his detractors (he hardly publicly addressed anyone), but he responded on the field by nearly setting the U of L single-season rushing record and by guiding the Cards to their first postseason victory and appearance in four years.
Today at the Louisville football kickoff luncheon, Strong announced a new "face" of the program, and it's the guy who many thought would lead the way in the backfield a year ago.
After being named Big East Rookie of the Year, Victor Anderson was one of the few reasons for optimism during the heart of the Steve Kragthorpe era. Unfortunately, injuries limited the Louisville St. X product to just 759 total rushing yards in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Now Strong says it's his turn to carry the flag for Cardinal football.
"This young man has been through a lot, he’s homegrown, he’s a special player," Strong said. "He did not miss one day of spring practice. He’s been to work every day now, and it’s just amazing to watch the development and growth that he’s made in this program."
"Face" wasn't the only superlative Strong was handing out on Tuesday. Senior wide receiver Josh Bellamy was dubbed "Mr. Hardhat," senior tight end Josh Chichester was "the anchor of the program" and senior defensive end Greg Scruggs was referred to as "Mr. Reliable."
Strong also spoke again about academics, saying that when he took over the program an almost unbelievable 52 players had a GPA below 2.0. Louisville was stripped of three scholarships this spring because of its low APR, something Strong vowed would never happen under his watch.
Strong also addressed the recent Vance Bedford spiel which has so many Cardinal fans enthused, saying: "This train will not derail."