The Sugar Bowl is a homecoming of sorts for Charlie Strong.
The third-year University of Louisville head coach will be facing his former team – the University of Florida – in the Sugar Bowl, which was the final game he coached as the Gators' defensive coordinator before heading to U of L.
Several other U of L coaches also have Florida connections, including defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, who was an assistant there. Running back coach Kenny Carter, defensive backs coach Tommy Restivo and strength coach Pat Moorer were also members of the Gators' staff before coming to U of L.
"It seems like just yesterday we were in the Sugar Bowl playing Cincinnati for (his last game) at the University of Florida," Strong said. "So we're very familiar with that program and coach Will (Muschamp) has done an outstanding job. He's a really good friend of mind. And I know when he took over that program, I told him, if there was anything I could do, I would be more than willing to help, even though I was moving on to Louisville.
"You look at the defense and you're so familiar with the guys there, when you think about those guys. . . . But that's an outstanding program; a program that's built with toughness, offensive and defensive line, a very tough program. So it's going to be an exciting matchup. But it's our second BCS; in '06 and we are coming back again this year. You know, our football team, it's a great job. It's a resilient team and a team that we had two stumbles there late in the season, but from the off set we played pretty well and I'm so happy for this program."
The Sugar Bowl game is slated for Jan. 2 in New Orleans at the SuperDome.
Strong had four stints on the staff at Florida, including 2003-09 when he served as the defensive coordinator. He helped the school win two national titles.
"A lot of respect for Louisville and the football team they have," Muschamp said. "And of course Charlie Strong was a huge part of two national championships here at the University of Florida in 2006 and 2008, he was an outstanding defensive coordinator and a good friend. "
Cardinal Authority will have complete coverage of the team between now and the bowl game, including coverage from New Orleans.