Charlie Strong Opening Statement
When I took this job nine months ago waiting for this week to come and it's finally arrived. I like the way our players have worked. They've done an outstanding job. But any time you take over a struggling program and we've been struggling for three years there's a lot of work to be done. There's been no resistance from the players and that's what you really like. Our coaches have done an outstanding job coaching them and these players want to be coached and they want to win. It's our job to get them headed in that direction.
On wide receiver Josh Bellamy
Josh Bellamy makes that whole position better. He has a presence about him, a presence that we need in this program. He comes out there with a smile on his face each day and jumps around. He talks the whole practice and that doesn't bother me because I feel that's what we need. Troy Pascley feeds off of him and Andrell Smith really feeds off of his energy. Those guys walk around like they're playmakers now. From spring till fall, the wide receiver group has made a big improvement.
On an undersized defensive front four
We're going to have to rely on our speed and quickness because we're not very big. When you're little you can't allow people to lock in on you. That's why we're going to have to do some movement. We can't blitz all the time but we need to move just to give them a chance.
On coaching his first game
It's my first game as a head coach but I've had a chance to coach in some really good programs in some big time games. It's just a matter of settling down and watching the players go play. At the end of it the players still have to go play the game. We just have to make sure we keep them settled. We've just got to be calm in the storm.
On instilling confidence in his players
Our players have heard that they're not very good and they can't do this. It's a confidence thing with them right now. Once we get it going and win a few games that confidence will come. There's not a more confident player on this team than Josh Bellamy. He's has a lot of confidence about him. He's confident in his ability.
On why Adam Froman won the starting job at quarterback
It was just the way he led in camp and operated the offense. We even looked back to spring ball at how well he played in spring practice. Froman has a presence about him and a leadership quality. He was the one that got the guys together. What we want Froman to do in that position is to just operate our offense because we have enough weapons.
On friendship with Kentucky coach Joker Philips
We talked this summer but not since fall camp started. We'll probably text after this game.
Press Conference Notes
Charlie Strong said that junior running back Victor Anderson is completely healthy for the game Saturday against Kentucky.
Strong admitted that the game has important recruiting implications for both programs. "We're taking care of home first," Strong said. "Then we need to win to draw outstanding recruits. What's really big about this game is it sets the tone - puts you one up on the other team. This game will set the tone for this state."
True freshman linebacker Preston Brown will start at middle linebacker for Louisville in the season opener. Strong said Brown had a great camp and provides the Cardinals a physical presence in the middle of the defense.
Strong said that transfer LB Jordan Cambell is not practicing with the team currently and is still awaiting clearance from USC. Strong added that his team is preparing and moving on without him.
Opening Game Football Tickets Sold Out
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The University of Louisville's opening football game against Kentucky on Sept. 4 in an expanded Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is a sellout.
The sellout includes a group of tickets which were returned from the Wildcats' visiting team allotment. Over 41,000 U of L season tickets have been sold to date. U of L can sell about 44,000 season tickets in 55,000-seat Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The remaining seats are held for fans of visiting teams, corporate marketing packages and U of L's internal needs.
About 1,200 tickets to the Cardinals' Sept. 11 home game against Eastern Kentucky, priced at $47 for reserved bowl seating and $10 for the UPS Flight Deck upper seating. Tickets may be purchased with no service fees at the U of L ticket office, located near Gate 2 of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium adjacent to Floyd Street. Cardinal fans may also purchase tickets by visiting ticketmaster.com online, calling (502) 361-3100 or visiting any Ticketmaster Ticket Center, including select statewide Kroger locations.