Copeland ready to lead

University of Louisville wide receiver Damian Copeland, who led the Cardinals with 50 receptions in 2012, is embracing a leadership role and has high expectations for his senior season.

Wide receiver Damian Copeland arrived at the University of Louisville in 2009 and spent his rookie year as a redshirt and watched as his new team struggled to it's worst season since 1997.

Fast forward to 2013 and Copeland, now a senior, has helped U of L rebound to participate in three consecutive bowl games, including a 33-23 win over 4th-ranked Florida at the Sugar Bowl to cap off the 2012 season.

Copeland, a native of Bradenton, Florida, started all 13 games for the Cardinals last season, hauling in a team-leading 50 receptions for 628 yards. It was a season that brought will always be remembered and he has two new large rings celebrating the Big East Conference title and Sugar Bowl victory to cherish.

"It's a blessing," he said of his new jewelry. "It's a great reminder of our accomplishments of what we did last season, but we are very excited as a team of this upcoming season. We have new goals and new dreams."

As part of a deep and talented group of receivers, Copeland will leaned on for leadership this season.

"It's crazy how time flies," he explained. "I remember when I came in, Trent Guy and those guys were the seniors and now I'm playing the senior role. I see how it felt when they were seniors and now it's my turn. I take a lot of pride in it and I'm going to help get the best out of the guys."

As the defending Sugar Bowl Champions, the Cardinals will enter the 2013 season in the top ten, favored to win its new conference and make a return trip to a Bowl Championship Series.

"We definitely have a target on our back and our coaches let us know that all the time," he told Cardinal Authority. "We have to stay hungry and humble. We can't look at the past because it's about the future now and it's a new season. Everybody is going to be out to get us, but if we take it one game at a time we will be ready."

With less than 50 days until the start of his final season in the Red and Black, Copeland and his teammates are focused on building upon the momentum built in 2012.

"The goal is just like every year, we want to win the AAC, go to a BCS bowl and win our bowl game," he said, adding that an undefeated season is a possibility. "I think we can if we put in the hard work and play like I know we can play. The sky is the limit for us."

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