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Charlie Strong Talks Belk Bowl And The Future Of Louisville Football

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Get ready to swoon.

--Very, very excited to be invited to the Belk Bowl. Charlotte is a great city and one which will welcome us with open arms.

--It's remarkable how far this young team has come, from being 2-4 to winning a share of the Big East championship.

--In the last game of the season we had a freshman at quarterback, two freshmen on the offensive line and three freshmen at wide receiver. Then you look at the defense and you've got a true freshman at corner, a true freshman at safety, and another true freshman in Lorenzo Mauldin who went from playing tight end to starting at defensive end, and another true freshman on the line in B.J. Dubose.

--Very proud of this team, but we still don't have the respect we should around the league. Just look at the fact that we only had three guys named all-conference.

--Dexter Heyman was second team All-Big East, but Strong thinks he was the best defensive player in the conference.

--We had zero offensive players selected to the All-Big East team. There were teams that didn't even qualify for the postseason but had multiple offensive players honored. Just shows how much harder we have to work in order to gain the respect we feel we deserve.

--Team will start bowl preparation on Wednesday.

--NC State is loaded with talent, especially on defense. They have a corner who was a Walter Camp All-American who led the country in interceptions. They have a great quarterback and a very good, big wide receiver.

--Team will leave for Charlotte on Dec. 22.

--Team has been practicing on the weekends ever since the regular season ended, but they've only been working on fundamentals and techniques. They've just been trying to stay sharp.

--Finals are coming up and that has been the team's primary focus. It's not enough for the guys to just go through the motions and pass. We're not going to let that happen.

--Our coaching staff should be commended for everything they did this year. To take that team from 2-4 to where they are now is just an outstanding accomplishment.

--Thought Alex Kupper and Mario Benavides played well enough to be all-conference. We played well enough on offense toward the end of the season that we should have had some guys on that side of the ball honored.

--Again, not having many guys honored speaks volumes about the coaching staff and the job they did. Not so much me, but our assistant coaches.

--(Regarding the Texas A&M rumors) I went on the road last Sunday and all the sudden I heard that I was supposed to be in New York. I was in Miami.

--"I work for an outstanding, outstanding athletic director. Tom Jurich gives me everything...I'm not looking for anything. I don't need a job. I have the best job."

--Knows that the rumors are going to continue to pop up. They did when he was an assistant coach too.

--"This job is good enough, and we're going to make this job better. People always say, 'oh, he's going here.' I always say, 'what's wrong with the job I have? Why would I need to go somewhere else?'"

--At the end of the season, we were playing better than a lot of teams in the country. We really improved, but we also put ourselves in the position to be a 7-5 team by the way we played early on in the season.

--Teddy Bridgewater deserves all the accolades he's receiving right now, but he really got better when the rest of the offense - especially the offensive line - got better. Getting Mario back was really big for the whole team. Teddy developed along with the rest of the offense.

--Our assistant coaches are responsible for all the recent recruiting success the program has had.

--NC State is a lot like us. They won three out of their last four, beat a really good team in Clemson, bring a lot of pressure on defense and throw the ball really well.

--A lot of the recruits don't even ask about the conference situation. When it does come up, Strong tells them we're going to be in a good situation whether we're in the Big East or somewhere else. "We're going to play our schedule next year, and then whatever happens after that, it happens."

--Turnovers have really hurt NC State. It's why they rank so high in so many categories defensively but have given up 25 points per game. The turnovers have really put their defense in a bad spot.

--The accolades won't go to Teddy's head at all. He got all of the same type of attention in high school and he's still so level-headed. He knows he's got to get better for this program to take off like it's supposed to.

--Greg Scruggs is the only injured player who will be back for the bowl game.

--This is going to end up being a road game for us. Isn't sure where our ticket sales are, but he knows the fans will be there. Bowl tickets would make a great Christmas present.

--We should be in a bowl game every year. We expect to be in a bowl game every year.

--Watched Tebow yesterday and it's amazing the way he gets the guys around him to play. His players couldn't stop talking about it.

--John L. Smith told him that leaving Louisville was the biggest mistake he ever made. He said, "if you get that job, don't ever leave."

--When you have an athletic director who gives you everything you need, that's all you can ask for. When you take another job, you never know what you're going to get. We know what we have here, so let's continue to build on it.

--Our recruiting is so great because we can recruit to the city of Louisville, and the city of Louisville has a lot to offer. Look at the major corporations, the three hospitals, UPS, Papa John's, the Yum; you have what you need here. Guys understand when they come here they're coming to a city where they, themselves can grow up.

--It's all about loyalty. You don't just walk out after two years, because I never would have been in this position if Jurich hadn't given me this opportunity.

--"A lot of people think, 'ok, he's stopping in there, they're going to go win a couple of years and then they're out.' OK, why can't we stop in here, build this program and watch it grow?"

--Look at what programs like Boise, Virginia Tech and Kansas State have built. Why can't we do that?

--People keep thinking we're coming in here to win for a little bit and then we're going to pack our bags and leave. We can't do that. You recruit young men here and tell them you're here for the long haul, and you have to mean that.

--Never once did I get a tweet or a message from our players saying "coach don't go," because they knew I wasn't going anywhere. We didn't ever have to have that conversation.

--When fans support you, you need to go win. If we win at home, we could make this stadium unbelievable. When we get this thing going our fans are going to make that stadium an incredibly tough place to play.

--NC State's already sold 23,000 tickets and the game is right in their backyard, but we expect our fans to be there too.