After losing 23 seniors and having 10 taken in the NFL Draft, one might think University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino would be fretting.
But it's just the opposite.
Petrino said the Cardinals will be "very different" this season but after looking back on spring ball and seeing how the roster will fill out he's pumped about the season.
The Cardinals will open on Sept. 5 in the Georgia Dome against Auburn.
"We're very proud of the guys who got drafted, but it does make you very nervous because (17) is a lot of draft picks," Petrino said. "I really feel good about it."
The Cardinals have 11 starters returning from last season and add one of the highest ranked recruiting classes in school history. Seven other players besides the 10 drafted players have been invited to NFL team camps.
"We knew last year was a very senior-heavy team," Petrino said. "And then three juniors came out early, which was a surprise. That always hurts how you manage the roster."
But it helps when you have a lot of talent back, especially on defense.
With one of the best linebacker groups in the country, led by Keith Kelsey and James Burgess, Petrino said he feels "very good" about that side of the ball. Sheldon Rankins and DeAngelo Brown are the leaders up front.
"I think we should be a very strong defensive football team," Petrino said. "Our front seve nhas most of the guys returning and they are big and physical with experience. I like what we have coming back on defense a lot."
On offense, Petrino said he's excited about some of the younger skill players, noting he has experience in the backfield and options at quarterback. He said the offensive line is the key spot at this point for the Cardinals.
"We've got some great competition going on at quarterback and we'll be real strong at the skill positions," he said. "We might not have a DeVante Parker there but overall the group of skill players gives us an opportunity to find out who will be playmakers.
"We have to find a combination on the line. We're a work in progress on offense."
But with less than 100 days to the opener Petrino said he was "excited" about the future of U of L football.
"Auburn is a challenge," he said. "But it's certainly one that our players and coaches are certainly looking forward too."