After winning the kick return duties during fall camp, Broderick Clark established a new conference record and became just the fourth player in school history to ever return a kickoff 100-yards for a score, when he took the opening kick of the second half against Kentucky the distance.
Fast forward back to the 2005 season and former Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year is now staring down at his final year at U of L.
"Man, it's finally here, but it's a big year for us and we all have high expectations, so I have to go out and work hard everyday," Clark said.
Despite injuries limiting his time on the field the past two seasons, the fourth-year receiver has compiled some impressive numbers. During his first three years wearing the Red & Black, Clark has hauled in 63 receptions for 864 yards and 4 scores. His 2,101 kick return yards leaves him just 457 yards shy of the school record for career yards, trailing only Zek Parker and Keith Stephens. His 28.9 average yards per return is currently the best ever mark in the program's history.
Now feeling better physically than he has since possibly his freshman season, Clark is looking forward to returning to form as the one of the nation's most dangerous kick returners.
"I expect to be back to my old self again," he said. "I just want to go out this year and fun."
Clark's history isn't made up of only exciting kick returns, but also a number of memorable receptions as well. In 2003 at Kentucky and on the third play of Bobby Petrino's first offensive series as the Cardinals head coach, Clark pulled in a difficult, over the shoulder pass from Stefan LeFors that sparked an opening drive touchdown. Last fall against TCU he recorded two receptions, the first a 42-yard pass from LeFors and the second, a 48-yard bomb from Michael Bush, both going for touchdowns.
Once again, he has spent the majority of his summer in Louisville participating in the often hot and steamy voluntary workouts.
"It's hard work," he explained. "We start out early everyday, so it makes for long days. It's fun though and it's making us better."
The days, which occassionally begin before 6:00 a.m., have a schedule that provides for very little break, as players rotate between the football training facility and summer classes, before finishing up with some skellie action inside the stadium.
"That's the fun part of the day," he said of the skill position workouts. "It's the easy part. We do a lot all day, like lift weights and going to class, before we come out here. This is the end of the day for us, so we enjoy doing it."
Clark also said that the summer workouts have helped him to evaluate this year's receivers and that it has become a unit that consists of a number of strengths.
"We have weapons everywhere. We have strength. We have speed. We have bulk. We have depth. We have a lot of talent, so it's going to be a fun year to be a receiver here."
However, despite the quantity of quality receivers, Clark says that the same principle that helped fuel the success of last fall's talented backfield of Eric Shelton, Lionel Gates, Michael Bush and Kolby Smith, still applies.
"Winning takes care of everything," he explained. "Everyone here only worries about going out there and doing their job. We don't worry about how many times we get the ball. This is a team and that's our whole concept."
The team will begin fall practice on August 6th. Practice will be open to the public through Saturday, August 13th.