Bushell makes impact for Louisville

In his first season with Louisville after transferring from Cedar Valley C.C., Adrian Bushell has emerged as a playmaker for the Cardinals.

In his first season with Louisville after transferring from Cedar Valley C.C., Adrian Bushell has emerged as a playmaker for the Cardinals.

A late addition to the roster – Bushell didn't join the team until after fall camp – the junior cornerback has played a key role in helping position Louisville to earn a share of the Big East title this Saturday with a victory at South Florida.

Though he has struggled at times adjusting to the requirements Charlie Strong places on his players, there's no question the former Florida star has made a major impact on defense and special teams for the Cardinals in his first season.

With 37 tackles, Bushell is tied for fifth in tackles on the team. He recorded a team-high 11 tackles in a win over Kentucky in his debut with the Cardinals and recorded an interception in UofL's narrow victory over Rutgers, which is tied with UofL for first in the conference standings.

Bushell has also made his mark on special teams. One of the fastest players on the team, Bushell blocked a field goal against West Virginia that cornerback Andrew Johnson returned for a touchdown in the Cardinals 38-35 upset in Morgantown. Last Saturday at UConn, Bushell returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score that provided Louisville an edge in their 34-20 victory against the Huskies.

When he's stayed out of Strong's doghouse, Bushell has been one of the Cardinals top players. But Bushell hasn't always toed the line, missing the UNC and Pittsburgh contests because of violations of team rules.

"It is all about him buying in," Strong said. "I tell him all of the time, ‘We have a system here. We're not going to change.' It doesn't matter who the player is and how talented he is. I tell him I'm not bigger than this program, and a player will never be bigger than this program.

"Once he buys into it and I tell him all of the time, ‘You have so much talent and it is up to you to go take it to the next level.' It is just the little things. I said, ‘You can't listen to all of those demons. Bushell – there's no telling how good you can be. You can be as good as you want to be.

"And we saw that at Florida. We saw a very talented young man who can be as good as he wants to be. Now, it's just up to him to go and do the right things."

If Bushell can stay on the field and out of trouble he could help Louisville to the Big East title and an unexpected appearance in a BCS bowl.

"Bushell is so talented," said Strong. "You look at last week and he is his own worst enemy. He did not even play last week (Pittsburgh).

"The thing with the return was it was just set up and the ball was kicked to him. He has a lot of speed. He probably is our fastest player on the team. When he breaks away from people, he can really run.

"If you watch him, even on defense, he makes plays. He is very long, probably around 5-10 or 5-11. He has very long arms and can really run. He is very athletic."

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