Preston Brown is taking the lead

Senior linebacker Preston Brown has become one of the key leaders for the 2013 Cardinals. The Cincinnati native recently visited with Cardinal Authority to discuss the upcoming season.

A member of Charlie Strong's first recruiting class at the University of Louisville, Preston Brown has flourished during his time with the Cardinals. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound middle linebacker has developed into an All-Conference performer and on Monday was named to the Lombardi Award Watch List.

As a freshman in 2010, Brown played in every game and hasn't missed an outing since. With 24 career starts under his belt, the Cincinnati native is being leaned on to be one of the defensive and team leaders.

"I'm helping guys in any way that I can," Brown told Cardinal Authority. "I'm trying to help the younger guys so they'll be ready for camp."

While coming off a conference title and Sugar Bowl winning season, Brown realizes that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"It's all about practicing and working hard every day so we know how to play no matter what the situation is," he said. "A lot of games last year we played down to our opponents, but now that we are older, we are smarter and ready to step it up a notch."

The Cardinals are expected to start the season among the nation's top ten and are projected to win the inaugural AAC season, which means that the team enters the 2013 season with a target squarely on their back.

"I like it," he said of the added pressure of being a week in and week out favorite. "When I first got here nobody really cared and everybody was playing us for their homecoming game, so now that we have that target on our back we can go out every game and play hard."

The Cardinals began preparing for the upcoming season weeks ago with summer conditioning. Led by strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer, the team is prepping for the start of fall camp on August 6.

"You can see that everybody is bonding together and that the communication is improving," he said. "If we keep working hard together we'll be even better."

Be it 7-on-7 competition or workouts in the weight room, the players are remaining focused and push each other to improve each day out.

"Everybody is jawing and talking trash during the summer because it's fun," said Brown. "We see them everyday, so you have to create some competition all the way through camp."

He added that Moorer's leadership throughout the summer will have the team ready, both physically and mentally, for the the start of fall camp next month.

"He always makes every summer tough, so you have to be mentally prepared," he said. "He'll have us ready for camp."

Part of Brown's role as a leader is to help the newcomers understand what is expected of them.

"We have big expectations, but they know that coming in and I think they will live up to it," he said. "Everybody has to keep working hard, so we can fulfill our goals this year."

While media and fans alike are anticipating another BCS bowl and there is talk of an undefeated season, Brown, speaking like a true leader, says the priority is squarely on week one.

"Our first goal is to beat Ohio," he said. "We don't really talk about all the other games right now. We are focusing on Ohio."

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