Cards focused on improvement in open week

University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong and his staff are using an open week to try and help the Cardinals improve. Even with a 5-0 record, Strong said the team is working on fundamentals and trying to get better.

The University of Louisville football team is undefeated after its first five games this season, but that doesn't mean the Cardinals can't improve.

Head coach Charlie Strong said his team has a "long ways to go," and that process is starting this week during the Cardinals' open week.

Strong said his team is focusing on fundamentals this week, practicing not on future opponents and schemes but on individual techniques and improvement. The Cardinals had Monday off but went full gear Tuesday and Wednesday.

"What we are trying to do during the open week is get time to refine the fundamentals and the technique," Strong said. "We have two weeks to get better before we play Pittsburgh.

"Every game now is a new season and every game counts from here out. We have to improve and have to play better than what we have been playing. All these games coming up are very critical because it's a one-game season."

Louisville will open Big East Conference play next Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pittsburgh. After playing the Panthers, U of L will play three straight home games against South Florida, Cincinnati and Temple.

Strong said he's been pleased with the effort during the open week. He'll give the team Friday and Saturday off before starting preparations for the Panthers.

"What I tell the players this week, that this is no time to take the week off," he said. "We are going to practice and we are going to go.

"They need to understand that I am going to get it out of them. If you don't want to practice hard, we are going to walk back out of the gate and start practice over. We are going to get the time that we need."

Louisville is 5-0 for the first time since 2006 when the Cardinals started the season 8-0 and ended up winning the Orange Bowl.

But the players are focused on improving and not the record.

"This bye week is perfect," sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "Last year, we had a bye week at the end of the year. This year, it's a good thing to get some guys healthy and correct our mistakes.

"We can still improve a lot. "

Strong said the time off would help some guys get over bumps and bruises. Three key players are trying to get over injuries.

Offensive lineman John Miller injured his ankle last week at Southern Mississippi. He was in his practice gear on Wednesday but wearing a boot on his left foot.

Linebacker Daniel Brown missed the Southern Miss game with a knee injury and is sidelined indefinitely, while running back Dominique Brown is still sidelined with a knee injury. Both will be tested early next week.

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