Strong holds opening week news conference

University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong met with the media on Monday, just six days before the kickoff to the new season. Cardinal Authority has a notebook of items from the Strong press conference.

STILL NO STARTER AT RUNNING BACK

The University of Louisville football team is still without a starting running back. Head coach Charlie Strong said it would be later in the week before the Cardinals name a starter at the position.

Jeremy Wright, Dominique Brown and Senorise Perry have all battled for the starting spot throughout the fall camp. At one point a few weeks ago, running back coach Kenny Carter said it might be a running back by committee situation.

But Strong said, "There will be a featured back."

"We still have Tuesday and Wednesday to go, and that decision will be made," Strong said. "We're going to sit down with the offensive staff. We still have three good RBs sitting there and it will be one of the three and whomever we pick is going to be the feature guy."

Strong did say it was "nice to have that" kind of depth at the running back position if the staff does wish to keep the starters a bit fresher.

Strong added, "When you alternate in and out (with the starter), then he never really gets into the flow of the game."

He also said Shawn Watson would likely make a few calls that called for the offense to have two backs on the field at the same time.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOT VERY SPECIAL

Strong said one concern he has is in the kicking game where he doesn't have a kicker or punter on the roster who has played in a game.

Freshman Josh Appleby was named as the starting punter, while Matthew Nakatani and John Wallace are still battling for the placekicking duties.

"I'm not really pleased with how things are going in the kicking game," he said.

In a follow-up question about the special teams, Strong said his biggest concern is there hasn't been "any consistency."

"You win and lose games in the kicking game and right now, I'll tell you I am not really pleased," Strong said, later adding the kickers are missing too many field goals and in punting game that "One time we may hit one and it goes 50 yards and the next time we kick if and it goes 20. You just want consistency."

MCNEAL LEAVES THE TEAM

Wide receiver Bryce McNeal, who arrived at the University of Louisville two weeks ago from Clemson, has left the program.

U of L coach Charlie Strong confirmed on Monday that McNeal is no longer with the team and it was the players' decision.

Strong said McNeal "left on his own," after going through less than two weeks of practices. He left Clemson's team after three games last season but stayed in school and graduated before coming to U of L.

"I always say when you get a transfer, this program is not for everybody," Strong said. "Some can handle it, some can't."

A FEW QUICK HITS

Strong said he's preached to his team not to just "punch the clock," but keep working hard and trying to improve.

Strong: "We need to take the field with an attitude of dominance."

He said the two teams are very similar, noting Kentucky "has a lot of young guys and we have a lot of young guys. We're a lot alike."


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