Cardinals must 'manage talking' with Canes

University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong spent some time in Orlando on Wednesday, where he said that his team, which includes 23 players from the Miami area on the roster, must not be distracted by back-and-forth talking that is certain to exist.

Poised to take his team to a fourth consecutive bowl game, University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong made the trip to Orlando on Wednesday to visit with Russell Athletic Bowl representatives and local media.

"On behalf of the University of Louisville, Doctor Ramsey, and our athletics director Tom Jurich we are really excited about being a part of the Russell Athletics Bowl," Strong said.

The 18th-ranked Cardinals will face Miami, a future ACC mate, on December 28 at the Citrus Bowl. A budding rivalry, the Cardinals and Hurricanes last met at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 2006, a 31-7 Louisville victory.

"We are excited about our opponent, the University of Miami, they had an outstanding season," he continued. "What is really great is we get to end this season against an ACC opponent since we are going to be in that conference next season. Our players are excited; we have a lot of players from the state of Florida. I have spent many years in this state and it's very exciting to be back in an area that you are familiar with."

U of L boasts of 23 players from the Miami area and a total of 39 from the Sunshine State. Many on the Cardinals roster have close friends that play for the Hurricanes.

"The excitement is a lot of the guys have played against each other in the Optimist League and the youth league and a lot of them have grown up together," Strong said. "There will be a lot of talking going on. We are going to have to manage that talking and make sure it doesn't get out of hand. Our players are really excited to be here."

A few Cardinals, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, committed to Miami before eventually signing with Louisville. The junior's calm and focused demeanor should allow him to avoid talking that is likely to exist when the two teams take the field.

"Teddy if you look at it with where he grew up and this being a school that he had committed to, I think that Teddy's outlook is he is going to look at this game just like any other game. He understands the thing we can't do, a lot of our players are from Miami including Teddy, and we can't get caught up in all the talking. At the end of the day you have to settle down and play a football game."

While the Hurricanes have started bowl practice, the Cardinals have the week off to focus on finals.

"We are going to start our preparation on Saturday and practice our way up until bowl time," Strong said, adding that he has yet to watch much Miami film. "I really haven't had much of a chance to watch Miami. When we found out who our opponent was I had some recruiting to do so I really haven't had a chance to sit down and watch them. When I get back into the office this weekend we will be able to start our preparation and break them down. I know this; there is a lot of speed. We recruit similar guys so I know a lot of their athletes. They are really a good team."

A year after 30,000 fans followed U of L to New Orleans to watch the Cardinals dismantle the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl, Strong anticipates another impressive outing from the program's fan base this bowl season.

"I think we will have a really nice crowd here," he said. "I know this; our fans are very passionate and excited to be here so I know we are going to travel. Just being here I know University of Miami being so close their fans will travel. The teams have a number of players from this state and a chance to play in this state, and the hospitality is going to be unbelievable. I think we are going to have a nice crowd."

There has been heavy speculation that the two programs will meet again to open the 2014 season on Labor Day weekend.

"I don't know for sure if we will open the season with them. The chance to play an ACC opponent, the good thing is we get to measure where we are going into that conference. This is a good opponent so we will get a chance to see what we have to do and how much further we have to go."

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