Winning an expected result for U of L players

Why don't the Louisville Cardinals lose very often? One of the biggest reasons is that many of the players are simply accustomed to winning, from high school to the present.

The Louisville Cardinals aren't used to losing.

Many of the Cardinals' who will play a big part against rival Kentucky this afternoon simply aren't accustomed to losing. Instead, they expect to win – and usually do. Most of these guys have won at every level they've ever played, from middle school to the present.

"A lot of the guys on this team have never lost – they've never come from a losing program," senior linebacker Brandon Johnson explained. "When I was in high school, the two years that I played, we were like 27-3. A guy like Elvis Dumervil, he came from one of the top programs in the state of Florida."

Last season, U of L's 12 returning starters helped the team win 11 of 12 games, including a 44-40 win over No. 10 Boise State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. In 2003, many of those same players led Petrino's first team at Louisville to an impressive 9-4 record. And the Cardinals have played in a bowl game each of the past seven years, meaning every returning letterman for U of L has ended his season with a post-season appearance.

Brian Brohm is used to winning.
U of L's starting QB led Trinity HS
to three consecutive state titles.

"We're used to having high expectations placed upon us," Johnson said. "For most of us, expectations have been there all the while. You just get used to high expectations and just accept it and turn it into a positive."

The Cardinals also expect to beat Kentucky. U of L has won five of the past six games in the series against the Wildcats, including the last two. Last year, U of L completely dominated UK, blanking the Wildcats 28-0 – the first shutout in the series since the two teams resumed playing in 1994. They've also won the past three games played at Commonwealth Stadium.

If the Cardinals find themselves in a close game late in the fourth quarter today, guys like sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm, who won three state titles at Louisville Trinity, can harken back to those past experiences to provide an edge against the Wildcats.

Cardinals' starters have impressive winning credentials

  • Brian Brohm led Louisville Trinity to three state titles, including a perfect 15-0 record as a junior in 2002.
  • Michael Bush led Louisville Male to a 14-1 record as a senior, losing to Trinity and Brohm in the state title game. He also helped Male to the 2000 state championship.
  • Brandon Johnson helped Minor High School in Birmingham, Al. to an 11-1 record as a senior.
  • Gavin Smart helped Lakeland, Fl. To a 35-3 record, including a 15-0 record and state championship as a sophomore.
  • Brandon Sharp led Bolles High in Jacksonville, Fl. to a 25-3 record his last two seasons, including the 2A state title as senior.
  • Eric Wood helped lead Elder High in Cincinnati to a 28-2 record his last two seasons, including back-to-back state championships.
  • Montavious Stanley led Westover High in Albany, Ga. to a 24-4 record his final two years, including a state title as junior.
  • Matt Sanders led Male to a 50-8 record, and three appearances in the state championship, winning two titles in 1998 and 2000.

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