There was the usual hectic final month of recruiting until national signing day and off-season workouts for the players, but on top of what the expected was an Orange Bowl Celebration downtown, an appearance at halftime of a U of L basketball and countless other public commitments.
The extra time the new head coach spent on the recruiting trails, reviewing video and comparing notes during the past two and a half months paid off. Steve Kragthorpe assembled a strong staff of assistant coaches, signed a stellar recruiting class and is preparing for his first spring as the Cardinals head coach.
Approaching his third month as the program's passing game coordinator, Jeff Brohm has spent much of his off-season working with Kragthorpe and offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs developing a new offense for a team that finished second in the nation in total offense last fall.
"The transition with all the guys in the office has gone real well," said Brohm. "I think the main transition is offensively. Combining the two and getting all of that together, so we can make it as easy as possible with the players. That will be a little bit of a transition and it could take some time."
"We want to try to put our players in the best position to succeed and make sure that we do our part to make sure that we put us in the best opportunity to win," said Brohm. "We want to utilize what we did well on offense last year and once we get all that all gelled together I believe we will have a chance do something pretty good."
While a period of transition is to be expected, the opportunity to establish an offense for a talented group that returns 11 full or part-time starters is one that Brohm enjoys being apart of.
"It is exciting," he said. "The great part about it is that we can start fresh. There will be changes here and there, and in the terminology, but we feel like that whatever we call it - that as long as we are doing the best things that we can on the field and utilizing these players talents - we should have a chance to do something special."
The period of time that it takes for the newness to wear off may be shorter than expected due to the relationships already between the new staff and the returning players, as well as the team's desire to improve on the 12-1 season of a year ago.
"We have a great group of players," said Brohm. "They are very talented, they work hard and they are very disciplined. I think they know that they had an excellent year and that they are hungry and want to one-up this season."
"They have been very responsive to the new coaches," he continued. "I think they're fired up to get back out on the field and try to play even better this year to try and take us the highest level."
To get to the highest level, the Cardinals will need to remain focused on their goal of reaching the BCS Championship, continue to produce big game victories and remain a program of high-interest to the nation's top high school prospects.
"We have great players here that are in place, so we feel that if we do our part as coaches that there won't be a drop-off," said Brohm. "We feel that we have a chance to compete against the best teams and obviously when you can win those games you can recruit great players."
"That's the key for us in recruiting. It's not only us getting out there are hitting the road hard, but winning games and staying on this path to hopefully achieve something that has never happened before."