Strong talks Murray State

Louisville coach Charlie Strong explained Monday why Will Stein won the quarterback battle and updated the Cardinals injuries heading into the season-opener against Murray State Thursday night.

Will Stein has received the majority of the snaps with the first team during fall camp so it didn't come as surprising Monday when Charlie Strong told on the Big East coaches conference call that the former walk-on from Trinity would be Louisville's starting quarterback for Thursday's season-opener against Murray State.

Though Stein will start, Strong said that true freshman Teddy Bridgewater and sophomore Dominique Brown will both play against the Racers.

"All three of them had really good camps and all three of them are going to get a chance to play," Strong said. "We're going to see if they can manage the offense, not turn the ball over and get us in the right plays."

"The thing with Stein is he's a fighter, a winner. He has something about him. He might be small in stature but he plays with a lot of confidence."

Charlie Strong said he believes he has a football team that will compete and play hard despite inexperience and youth at several key positions. Strong wants his team to play with passion and play together.

Four players won't play against the Racers: Starting center Mario Benavides (ankle); starting defensive end B.J. Butler (knee); reserve running back Corvin Lamb (neck); and true freshman linebacker Jalen Harrington all will miss the opener with injuries.

According to team sources, Lamb sustained a neck injury that will keep him out a "couple weeks."

Strong confirmed that former Florida cornerback Adrian Bushell has joined the football program but likely won't see action against Murray. Strong said Bushell has to get in shape and learn the defense before he's ready to play.

"He's only been here two days," Strong said. "He's got to get himself into shape and see how quickly he can learn the defense so he can contribute to our team."

With Benavides out of action, Strong listed the starting offensive line as follows: Alex Kupper (center), Ryan Kessling (tackle), Hector Hernandez (tackle), John Miller (guard) and Jake Smith (guard). Kupper spent most of camp at tackle, but, apparently, will replace Kamran Joyer, who had snapping issues after moving from guard.

Strong said Benavides' injury was "day-to-day." We're going to slowly work him (back) into (the lineup)."

Strong said the "good thing" about Benavides' injury is that it occurred so early in camp that it allowed Dave Borbely and the coaching staff to get the right five guys out there.

Strong said that true freshman safety Calvin Pryor had an outstanding camp and will play in the opener.

Strong said he hired Murray State coach Chris Hatcher to coach Louisville's quarterbacks before Hatcher was offered the Racers head coaching position. Strong also said that Hatcher's defensive staff visited with Louisville's defensive staff last spring.

Strong said Murray State has a "wide open, hurry up" offensive attack that will test his young cornerbacks. "They like to throw the ball," Strong said. "This game may last forever."

"They're going to get tested and I'm anxious to see how they react," Strong said of his defensive backs.

Strong was asked about the Yahoo article on the Miami scandal. Specifically, Strong was asked if he was aware of the specific allegations against assistant Clint Hurtt.

"I'm not aware (of specific allegations)," Strong said. "We're trying to focus on this football team. I've told Clint to focus on right here until the NCAA comes (investigates). We don't talk about it. We're directing all of our attention on this program."

Strong said Hurtt's duties have not changed since the Yahoo report was published and "will not change."

Strong there were no eligibility concerns with any Louisville players because of the investigation at Miami, namely Teddy Bridgewater, who committed to the Hurricanes before enrolling at UofL.

"We're going to run a clean program here," Strong said.

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