Inside Cardinal football: Weekly notebook

Only 60 days until the opening game of the 2013 football season for the University of Louisville as the Cardinals will host Ohio University. Cardinal Authority will feature the U of L football program in a weekly notebook. Here's the latest edition of the U of L football notebook:

Hakeem Smith GETTING A LOT OF LOVE

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the face of the University of Louisville program this season, being a top Heisman Trophy candidate.

But there's another players getting a ton of preseason love.

Senior safety Hakeem Smith has been selected as a third-team All-American by three different preseason magazines with Phil Steele's magazine selecting him as the No. 1 free safety eligible for the NFL Draft.

"I don't worry about anything that anybody says about me or the team," Smith said. "I've just been working hard for a great senior season."

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Smith has already started 38 games during his career and has been a three-time All-Big East Conference selection. He was first-team last season and second-team as a freshman and sophomore.

"He has to continue doing what he has been doing for us," defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. "He has to be one of those senior leaders for us."

WRs MAKING EACH OTHER BETTER

With so much talent in the wide receiver group this coming season, several of the players at that position are making each other better.

Senior Damian Copeland and junior DeVante Parker are trying to do just that, make each other better by battling in practice.

"Me and Vante go at it and try to help each other out," Copeland said. "We're going at it day in and day out to help.

"He's a true athlete and has a bright future."

Copeland finished last season with 50 catches for 628 yards and two touchdowns, while Parker had 40 catches for 744 yards and 10 TDs.

TIME SET FOR FIU GAME

The U of L football game against Florida International has been set for noon on Sept. 21 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

It's the second noon game of the season on the schedule, including the Sept. 7 home game against Eastern Kentucky. The only other game times set are 3:30 for the opener against Ohio U., on Sept. 1 and 7:30 p.m. for the Dec. 5 contest at Cincinnati in the final game of the season.

Other games times will come out soon.

THE FIU game will mark the third season in a row the schools will play each other, including a 28-21 win at FIU last season by U of L.

The series is 1-1 between the two schools.

PHIL STEELE GIVES CARDS SOME LOVE

Phil Steele in his annual preseason magazine gave U of L some love, including a No. 7 rankings in the preseason poll.

Steele also projects the Cardinals in the Orange Bowl against Florida State and has Hakeem Smith as the top strong safety in the country eligible for the NFL Draft and has Teddy Bridgewater as the top quarterback in the country.

Calvin Pryor is ranked as the No. 6 free safety.


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