SMITH HAS BECOME A PRIME TARGET
Smith, who only had 207 yards receiving as a junior, has seven catches and leads the team with 94 yards receiving. He's averaging 13.4 yards a catch.
"My team needs me," Smith said. "I feel like the reason I have stepped up is because the coaches always came to me and told me the type of player I could be. I wanted to try and take that role and be that player.
"They said if I get my mind right, I can be a top prospect."
Smith started the season with four catches for 46 yards against Kentucky and then had three catches for 48 yards in the win over Missouri State.
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Smith has become a favorite target of sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
I don't feel like I have done enough yet," Smith said. "I still have more to go. I just have to keep my confidence up and keep working."
ANOTHER PLAYER FROM Miami IMPROVING
One name you will likely hear more of this season is Jermaine Reve.
The redshirt freshman from Miami Northwestern High School is a safety and has played a number of snaps the first two weeks. He filled in at nickel back during the Kentucky game and finished with three tackles, including one tackle for a loss.
"You'll see a lot more from him in the next few games," defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. "He's starting to come on."
Reve said sitting out last season and watching for a year "really helped me a lot," noting he now has to play multiple positions in the secondary.
"The coaches expect a lot out of me and I think I am just starting to show it," he said. "I bring a lot of physicality to the defense and I bring smarts and intelligence in football. I'm just trying to become an all-around player.
"Last year, that just helped so much. I was really able to watch and learn."
The 6-foot, 188-pound Reve was a second-team Class 6-A All-State performer as a senior at Northwestern. He originally had committed to Central Florida.
"The first time I met coach Strong and talked to him, I felt like this was the place to help me expose all of my abilities as a player," Reve said.
BROWN READY FOR TAR HEELS THIS TIME
Jamon Brown played against North Carolina last season in a 14-7 loss for the Cardinals. But the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Brown wasn't quite ready for what he saw.
A former Fern Creek High School star, Brown came to U of L as a defensive lineman and was at that position until the week before the UNC game.
Brown was switched when the U of L staff needed offensive linemen. He had eight practices and started the game against the Tar Heels.
"We didn't have another choice," Strong said. "We had so many injuries. We were decimated at that time. I was like, ‘Who do we have who can go in?'"
Brown finished the season as a key cog to the line and is now a starter and major player for the U of L offense.
"Going into that game, I had only eight or nine practices," Brown said. "The group we have now on the line, we have improved our chemistry and we're getting better. I'm going to have a little chip on my shoulder, but I do every week."
Added center Mario Benavides: "For one I don't have to tell him what to do every play. He's a smart kid. It's pretty unbelievable what he did last year despite such little time preparing on offense."
U OF L TO HONOR TWO COMMUNITY LEADERS
Two big supporters of the University of Louisville athletic department will be honored on Saturday when the football team wears stickers on the back of their helmets in honor of the two boosters.
The team will honor the late Owsley Brown Frazier and Bernard Trager.
"This is a great way to honor two of the biggest supporters of our football program and our athletic department," athletic director Tom Jurich said. "Bernard Trager and Owsley Brown Frazier were so important to the growth of our department and were instrumental in building this football program to where it stands today. They are two of the most iconic figures in Louisville athletics and this is a great way for our football team to emphasize their immense contributions."
Added Strong: "In the small amount of time I had the opportunity to get to know them, it was apparent that they were two of our strongest advocates in raising this program and the University to a higher level."
**Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker missed much of the second half last week with an apparent hamstring issue. Parker was dressed on the sidelines. He was at practice this week and is expected to play.
**Running back Dominique Brown hasn't played in either game so far this season because of a right knee injury. Brown didn't dress last week for the Missouri State game but was wearing a knee brace. He's listed as day-to-day.
**North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard had 203 yards rushing against Elon before missing last week's loss to Wake Forest with a knee injury. But word was Bernard was back at practice on Tuesday.
**U of L freshman Keith Brown, who suffered a hamstring injury against Kentucky, missed last week's game. He was back at practice this week.