University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong was pleased with his team's final scrimmage of the fall camp and then said it took a "step in the right direction" being ranked in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll.
The Cardinals, who are ranked at No. 25 in the AP poll and in the poll for the first time since the 2007 season, ended camp with a closed two-hour scrimmage in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
"We just know this, we still have to go perform no matter where they place us," Strong said of the ranking. "Our players understand two years ago you were picked last in this conference; last year you where picked seventh and look where you ended up. Now all of a sudden, you're picked where you're picked.
"But we still have to go perform."
Strong wasn't pleased last weekend when he said the offense won the team's first scrimmage but noted this week was even between offense and defense.
"It was a very balanced scrimmage today," he said. "Guys came out and competed very well. You look at it, two weeks from tomorrow we will be playing that first game. We are still nowhere near where we need to be.
"We still have a lot of work to do."
The defense was without two important players – safety Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor – who were both nursing minor injuries and held out of the scrimmage.
But Strong said he was still pleased with the way the "defense responded."
"Offensively, the first unit on offense performed very well, the second unit needs to clean up some things, procedure penalties and five yard stuff," Strong said. "Defensively, the first unit performed very well and the second team made some plays for us as they were going up against the first offensive unit."
Strong said overall he was "pleased with the scrimmage." He said the team is still "healthy" with a few players obviously nursing nicks and bruises.
U of L was the lone Big East team ranked in the top 25 but the players sure didn't do any celebrating because of the preseason ranking.
"We haven't been ranked in a while so we take pride about it," senior defensive lineman Brandon Dunn said. "I really don't know anything about us being ranked so I guess coach probably won't preach too much more on it. He probably wants us to keep a humble head and not get ahead of ourselves."