Weekly Louisville football notebook

We're less than 20 days from the first kickoff of the season. Here's another edition of the weekly University of Louisville football notebook.


University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong is pulling out all the motivational tactics for his team during the preseason.

Strong reminded the team a few weeks back about Stewart Mandel's words on SportsIllustrated.com, calling the Cardinals a program in the bottom tier of college football. He called them peasants.

Strong had those words posted in the U of L locker room and also recently posted Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton's words:

"For Louisville, they don't have to go through the wear and tear that we go through week to week. So this is a big game for them because it's a non-conference game and it'll be competitive for them. You know, they'll end the season whatever and a couple of losses. They just don't play the schedule we play, so it's a big game for them for that reason."

Those words were posted on the football complex doors.

"Being with (Strong) the last couple of years, I'm used to seeing things like that," senior Mario Benavides said. "For me, I don't try and look into it too much. I understand the message and that message is hey guys we haven't arrived yet.

"He just wants to make sure we know we still have work to do to get respect. I think with the younger guys, it gets them fired up."


Wide receiver Charles Gaines has been one of the players garnering a lot of chatter during the first two weeks of fall practice.

Gaines is a redshirt freshman who spent last season at defensive back but was moved back onto the offensive side this season.

He's a speedy wide receiver with good hands.

Strong said the amount of returning defensive backs for the Cardinals this season was a main reason for the switch.

"When you look at it defensive back, you had four starters coming back," Strong said. "I was just trying to find a place for him. We recruited him as a wide receiver.

"I was saying to (Shawn Watson) and the offense, ‘We need to get us a guy over there that has some energy to him and somebody going to get that group of guys going.' And that's what Gaines has been able to do."


Strong said the offense won last weekend's scrimmage against the defense, noting the running backs broke off several long touchdowns.

Several offensive players this week said offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has the offense a little farther along than last season.

"Practice has been going great," lineman Jamon Brown said. "We really got a lot installed in the first couple of days. It's all been good so far."

Added quarterback Teddy Bridgewater: "It's been a lot different. We're doing a lot more on offense right now. It will be more detailed.

"Last year, coach (Watson) stepped in towards the middle of the season and he couldn't do what he really wanted to with offense. But now he's had the whole offseason and the preseason and we have a lot in."


With five guys who started games back in the offensive line, there is more of a familiarity this season among those in the trenches.

And sophomore Jake Smith said the bond between the line has become stronger because of their closeness with each other.

"We just go out every day and work for each other," Smith said. "It's fun too see just how close we all are. It's really helped out.

"It's made practice better because we're learning from second team and they're learning from us. There's not a real drop off with the second team this year."

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