2004 RECORD: 11-1 overall, 8-0 in Conference USA play (CUSA Champs)
HEAD COACH: Bobby Petrion, 20-5 overall in two seasons at Louisville
KEY ADDITIONS: OL Marcel Benson (6-6, 315)
OFFENSE: Expectations are sky high in Kentucky as Brian Brohm, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, takes over the quarterbacking duties. As a backup Brohm completed 66 of 98 passes (67%) for 819 yards and 9 total, two on the ground, touchdowns. He is mobile, confident and had a good teacher in LeFors.
Junior Michael Bush assumes the starting running back spot after Eric Shelton, the team's leading rusherr, graduated. In spot duty Bush ran from 734 yards and four touchdowns while catching 11 passes for 155 yards in 2004. He will be joined in the backfield by fellow junior Kolby Smith, sophomore Reggie Bradshaw and redshirt freshman George Stripling. Junior Deriontae Taylor mans the fullback postion and will help clear the way for Bush and his teammates.
Senior Montrell Jones is the team's returning leading receiver after haluing in 564 yards and three touchdowns. Joshua Tinch and Broderick Clark join Jones on the staring line after hauling in 510 yards (one touchdown) and 441 yards (four touchdowns), respectivley, last season. Sophomore tight end Gary Barnidge saw limited action last year, but was effective catching seven passes for 85 yards and four scores. He takes over the starting job after the departure of Adam McCauley.
The offensive line returns four starters from a unit that helped the Cardinal rank at the top of many offensive categories. Senior Jason Spitz shifts from guard to center after earning second team all-conference honors. Senior right guard Kurt Quarterman, who weighs 348 pounds and knows how to use it, returns along with third team All-American and one finest left tackles in college football Travis Leffew. Tackles Renardo Foster and Jeremy Darveau are battling for the right tackle spot with junior college transfer Marcel Beson in the mix. Marcus Gordon and Eric Wood will hanlde the left guard spot.
DEFENSE: Six starters return from 2004 with senior defensive end Elvis Dumervil leading the charge. Dumbervil tallied the most tackles for loss with 11.5 and the most sacks with ten. Senior Chad Rimpsey and sophomore Brandon Cox will rotate in and out at the other end. Upperclassmen Montavious Standly and Amobi Okoye provide the bulk in the middle.
The Cardinal return its outside linebackers in senior Brandon Johnson, the team's returning leading tackler (84), and junior Abe Brown who wrapped up 55 tackles and six sacks. Sophomore Matt Sanders will handle the duties in the middle.
Three starters in the defensive backfield had to be replaced with cornerback William Gay being the only holdover. Scout team standout Rod Council will man the other cornerback spot as brothers Brandon and Antonine Sharp will hanld the safety duties. Brandon is one of the fastest players on the teams while Antonine posses good coverage skills.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sophomore Arthur Carmondy returns after connecting on 12 of 15 field goals and setting an NCAA record after converting 77 of 77 extra points. Sophomore Todd Flannery is the team's new punter replacing Brett Moody.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Cardinals led the nation in total offense (538 ypg) and scoring offense (48.9 ppg) while putting up 50 or more points seven times in '04.
PICKED TO FINISH: Louisville was picked to finish first in the Big East conference by the media. They are ranked #12 in the AP poll and #14 in the coaches poll.
RB Michael Bush (Getty Images)
QB Brian Brohm (Getty Images)
DE Elvis Dumervil (Getty Images)