The ten most noteworthy items from today's Louisville football media day:
1. This is one hell of a coaching staff
Hot Hot said the same thing earlier today, but this could definitely be one of those coaching staffs that people look back at ten years from now and say "man, I can't believe those guys were all there together at the same time."
Bedford's comments above have already gone viral and have become exhibit A for the optimism surrounding the program. But what about Shawn Watson coming to Louisville to coach quarterbacks when he could have easily landed a higher-profile gig? What about Clint Hurtt turning down Auburn and saying he did so because great things were about to happen at Louisville?
If Strong can somehow find a way to keep all these guys together, then 2012 and 2013 could really be something special.
2. A pair of true freshman are your backup corners
Bedford made the expected statement that Anthony Conner and Jordan Paschal were the current starters at cornerback, but then followed that up with the news that true freshmen Andrew Johnson and Charles Gaines are running with the second team.
With all due respect to the talents of Johnson and Gaines, this is a complete play for the future, and I'm fully behind it. Johnson and Gaines probably are not the overall players that some of the upperclassmen listed behind them are, but they possess more natural ability, and getting them onto the field as soon as possible is a move of great benefit to the future of the program. It may cost the defense a big play or two, but corner is the one obvious weakness on the defensive side of the ball, and giving a pair of talented youngsters a baptism by fire could very well be the best long-term solution.
This is exactly why I said before the season that the difference between starting and hardly seeing the field for the veteran corners was going to be razor thin.
3. Charlie Strong still stressing academics
Strong began his time at the podium with a 1-2 minute spiel on academics. He stated that this time a year ago there were still eight players working to get eligible, while everyone on the team right now is good-to-go. He added that bad students equal bad football players which equal bad football teams.
Louisville football 2007-2009.
4. Quarterback "still a question mark"
Strong broke the not exactly earth-shattering news that if the season started today, Will Stein would be Louisville's starting quarterback. I did think it was interesting, though, that he referred to the QB position as "still a question mark," and later added that "someone's got to step up." He put quarterback right alongside offensive line and cornerback as the positions of greatest importance for this team to have a successful season.
5. The middle of the defense will be tough
Both Strong and Bedford talked about the strength of the defensive front seven. Strong said the defense would be the strength of this team, and that the only thing that could keep the unit from being outstanding could be its weakness on the outside (corner).
6. Greg Scruggs does a terrific Charlie Strong
The Summer of Scruggs continues.
7. No Cardinal is dealing with a major injury
Strong stated that while there are 14 players currently nursing injuries, none of those injuries are major. That includes freshman Lorenzo Mauldin, who suffered a neck injury at practice on Monday, but should be back on the field by the end of the week.
8. DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers will play right away
Mike Sanford named DeVante Parker, Eli Rogers and QB Teddy Bridgewater as the three true freshman who - as of right now - will definitely contribute right away. Sanford added that all three still have a ways to go.
9. You could put a movie on Brandon Dunn's backside
According to Vance Bedford.
10. "We're going to get this program where it was." --Charlie Strong
Though the coaches all appear to have tempered expectations about the season directly in front of them, each also had no problem expressing their enthusiasm about the future beyond 2011. Strong went on to add: "It's all about recruiting. We're going to get great players here, and we're not going to become them, they're going to become us."