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Link: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/08/10/1384874/louisville-quarterback-situation.html

Louisville quarterback situation up in the air

ALL THREE CANDIDATES ON EQUAL FOOTING, STRONG SAYS

The Associated Press

Of all the questions facing first-year University of Louisville coach Charlie Strong, none may be bigger than who his starting quarterback will be Sept. 4.

Tuesday afternoon at Louisville’s media day, though, there was no definitive answer on who’ll be behind center when the Cardinals kick off their season Labor Day weekend against archrival Kentucky at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. And, at this point, there’s no timetable as to when that answer will come.

Strong said he will sit down with assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, as well as quarterbacks coach Mike Groh, when the time is right and make a decision.

"And it’s going to come down to who can go lead this football team," Strong said.

Three different ones led last year’s team, which finished 4-8 under former coach Steve Kragthorpe, at one time or another. And all three of them - seniors Adam Froman and Justin Burke and sophomore Will Stein - are up for the job again this year.

"We basically have three guys right now," Sanford said. "There really is no update, we’ve only been through four days of practice...They’re working with the ones (first team) and twos (second team) and they’re alternating in there. We’re waiting to see how this is going to come out.

"I’ll echo Coach Strong and say that we need the guy who’s going to be a leader of our offense and our football team, first. Then second is his efficiency, the guy who is going to make us be productive. When he’s in the game, do we score points?"

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Froman put up the best numbers in 2009 and had the most starts (seven). In eight games Froman, who was 2-5 as a starter, completed 111 of 185 passes (60 percent completion rate) for 1,354 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.

In five games (including three starts) the 6-3, 229-pound Burke, a Lexington, Ky. native, completed 49 of 97 passes for 654 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions.

Meanwhile the 5-10, 185-pound Stein played four games, was 1-1 in two starts, competing 43 of 78 passes for 450 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

"All those guys have started at same point in their career, but it’s critical that we get the leader who the other guys truly respect and just tell them that, I don’t need you to go out and make a bunch of great plays, I just need you to play within the system,’" Strong said.

And it’ll be a new system, for the most part, as the Cardinals switch to the spread offense.

"The passing is not much different from what we’ve done in the past, a lot of the players are universal in football, a hitch route is a hitch route," Stein said. "But the running part is different for us. We all have good feet, but in the past we haven’t been in a running offense too, where we can take the ball any time."

"I think this offense fits our personnel to a tee," Froman added. "Our receivers, linemen, tight ends, running backs, quarterbacks, everybody we have, this offense fits us really well."

© 2010 Kentucky.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http

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Link: http://www.courier-journal.com/print/article/20100810/SPORTS02/308100069/Louisville-footballs-12-day-hotel-stay-a-team-building-exercise

Louisville footballs' 12-day hotel stay a team-building exercise

By C.L. Brown

cbrown@courier-journal.com

University of Louisville football players checked into a local hotel on Sunday for what head coach Charlie Strong viewed as just another small step toward team building.

The players view their 12-day stay — which will end Aug.19 — in terms of what is missing.

“We don't have distractions,†junior linebacker Dexter Heyman said at the team's media day Tuesday. “You don't have girlfriends in the hotel. You don't have video games in the hotel. You don't have the ability to go to nightclubs.â€

Strong took away their cars, too. Players ride in shuttle vans to the practice facilities and take those same vans back to the hotel.

Still, you don't hear the players complaining.

“I get way more sleep,†sophomore safety Shenard Holton said. “I'm eating better. I'm giving myself an opportunity to succeed more in camp.â€

The Cardinals are used to checking into a hotel before home games to cut down on distractions, but this is the first time they've done it for training camp.

They have no choice but to focus on football. It didn't always play out like that in last year's camp. The players stayed out of trouble, but they stayed up late. Linebacker Brandon Heath said guys would hang around outside their dorms until midnight talking about practice.

Strong gave them a 10:30p.m. curfew at the hotel, and with morning practices that start anywhere from 6-9 o'clock, players value their sleep.

“Last year we were staying up all times of the night and just having a good time,†Holton said.

Holton's description of his freshman year is why junior tight end Josh Chichester thinks staying in the hotel is good for the newcomers.

“It definitely helps out the younger cats, too,†he said. “They're wild, and being tamed like that, I think that makes them realize how important this is for everyone.â€

Here's where Strong's vision comes into play. Players are paired as roommates by position. In many cases the conversation between roommates at the end of the night is an extension of their position meeting.

Junior running back Victor Anderson is paired with redshirt freshman Jeremy Wright. Anderson said the two break down the playbook when they're in their room.

“Me being one of the older backs, I can explain how certain systems work and how schemes work and stuff like that,†Anderson said. “It's just good for us to be able to bond.â€

Strong also put different positions on the same floor — receivers and linebackers, for instance — to encourage players who might not otherwise mingle to get to know each other.

That kind of interaction would be rare otherwise. Strong said when players are spread out, they don't see each other until they come to practice.

“When I was at Notre Dame with coach (Lou) Holtz, we started this team building, something similar to this,†he said. “And that's what we're going to continue to carry on here.â€

The Cards are glad to keep it going. Quarterback Will Stein celebrated one unintended perk — “We get good sheets every night†— while senior quarterback Justin Burke was happy he could turn the air conditioner on full blast without worrying about his electric bill.

But ultimately, Strong says, the real payoff from the extended hotel stay will show during the season.

“It's all about team building and to get this team to become a football team,†he said. “You have so many divisions on a football team, so it's so important now to get everyone together.â€

C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-4044.

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Newcomers help Louisville go deep at wide receiver

By C.L. Brown

cbrown@courier-journal.com

University of Louisville seniors Doug Beaumont and Troy Pascley expected to take a crop of new receivers under their wings this year, but the young ones are poised to spread their own.

The Cardinals are not lacking depth at receiver, thanks to an influx that includes junior-college transfer Josh Bellamy and true freshman Michaelee Harris.

“We have some older guys that many of you know about,†offensive coordinator Mike Sanford told reporters, referring to Beaumont, Pascley and sophomore Andrell Smith. “… But we have some new guys, some new faces that you don't know about who are going to play for us that I think you need to be looking for.â€

Beaumont is the Cardinals' leading returning receiver after catching 38 passes for 465 yards in 2009. With Josh Chichester's move to tight end, no other current wideout caught more than 10 passes last year.

That could be cause for concern — until you see the newcomers. Sanford said he believes they all have big-play capabilities.

Bellamy, 6 feet and 205 pounds, is a cousin of UofL cornerback Preston Pace. Both played at the same high school in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif. Beaumont said Bellamy brought the right attitude from the start.

“When I first saw him I knew he was going to be competitive,†Beaumont said. “He wanted to work out with us every day right away, and that's the thing that we need.â€

They also could use a few guys who can stretch the field. Last season Trent Guy was the only wideout with multiple receptions who averaged more than 14 yards per catch (he averaged 18.3). The Cards expect to have more playmakers now.

“You just look at how deep we are,†Pascley said. “We've got guys like myself, Andrell Smith, Josh Bellamy and Doug — you won't be able to stop all of us. Out of this group you can expect a lot.â€

Harris (6-0, 184) was a standout at Miami's Northwestern High School who shunned his hometown university to play for the Cards. Pascley predicts it won't be long before Harris is a star.

“Michaelee Harris is the one that really stands out,†he said. “Right now coming in as a freshman, his route running is so much more advanced than you'd expect.â€

Smith isn't a newcomer, but he saw little action in the receiver rotation as a true freshman last season. The 6-4 215-pounder played mostly on special teams. Though he didn't catch a pass in a game, he caught plenty in practice, and he says that helped prepare him for this season.

“It got me mentally tough, although I didn't really play much in the games,†he said.

Beaumont and quarterback Will Stein predicted a breakout year for the Miami native.

“Andrell is going to be a major factor for us this year,†Stein said. “He's got size, speed, his hands are great. He's definitely a deep threat.â€

Sanford also mentioned true freshmen Kai Dominguez and Jarrett Davis as having a chance to contribute. The first test for the young group will come Saturday in the first scrimmage of fall camp.

“We're all going to have our chance to shine,†Smith said. “We're here to encourage each other and get each other better. The whole thing is about winning.â€

C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-4044.

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The University of Louisville showed off the nearly completed 13,000-seat expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Wednesday, and the Cardinals also revealed that they are coming closer to filling it.

Attendance tailed off last season, as the Cards averaged 32,450 fans, a low for the

stadium, which opened in 1998. Attendance twice dipped to fewer than 25,000, including the 21,497 who watched the Halloween game against Arkansas

State.

The hiring of head coach Charlie Strong has ushered in a new era of excitement, UofL

athletic director Tom Jurich said. The $72million project increased the stadium's

capacity from 42,000 to 55,000, and the school has surpassed its season-ticket goal

of 40,000 — the count stood at 40,372 as of Monday.

“Having Charlie here has been just a breath of fresh air, and he's brought so

much interest,†Jurich said. “Anybody who was at that luncheon (Tuesday) saw some

real genuine enthusiasm, and the guy who's the most enthusiastic is me.â€

Gary Friedman, a senior associate athletic director, said that because of ticket blocks

held by UofL — including 5,500 for opponents, plus spots for high school

coaches and recruits — the stadium is limited to roughly 44,000 season tickets.

Jurich also gets 1,000 tickets per game that he is designating for community

groups, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Jurich said he “couldn't be happier†with the sales.

“In this economy, to take on two projects the magnitude of this and the (downtown)

arena … our fans have stepped up greatly, and I think we've battled through the

economy,†Jurich said. In an attempt to sell more seats, UofL is offering three- and four-game plans. Tickets in the three-game plan — one package is Eastern Kentucky, Cincinnati and South Florida; the other is Memphis, Connecticut and West Virginia — are located in the upper bowl and go for $60.

The four-game plan goes for $149 but includes the Sept.4 opener against Kentucky as well as EKU, UConn and USF.

“We've got mini-plans that are selling really well,†Friedman said. “What we really tried

to do was just create opportunities for as many people to take in Cardinal football as

possible, and we're achieving that.â€

It is the only on-campus stadium in the nation with all-chairback seating. It added

33 suites, 1,725 loge seats and 10,400 seats in the upper deck, all of which were

built on the stadium's east side.

Each suite has 18 seats, and the stadium now has 63 suites. UofL fell short of selling

all of the new suites, but the seven that remain are available on a game-by-game basis.

Friedman said the suites sold for $45,000 apiece for the complete season but range from $3,000 to $5,000 for individual games. Those seven suites are already

taken for the Kentucky game.

Friedman also said that fewer than 100

loge seats remain for sale.

The suites and loge seats open into the

20,000-square-foot PNC Club. It extends

from end zone to end zone and has lounge

seating, a full-service bar and concessions.

Unlike on the west side of the stadium,

glass walls were built on the east side to

allow fans to still see the field.

Jurich also said he is proud of the new

terrace built at the south end of the

stadium. It can hold 2,500 fans and will be

filled with concession tents, offering fans a

place to congregate while still seeing the

game.

“We're having a lot of requests already —

not just for game day (but) for weddings,

proms and things like that,†Jurich said.

“Many special events will be outside on it. I

think we'll get plenty of use out of that.â€

C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-

4044.

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Louisville receiver Michaelee Harris out at least a month with torn knee ligament

By C.L. Brown • cbrown@courier-journal.com • August 18, 2010

University of Louisville freshman receiver Michaelee Harris suffered a torn posterior cruciate knee ligament in practice on Monday and his availability for this season is uncertain.

“If he's not able to play he will redshirt, but I don't know the time frame of when he'll be back,†UofL coach Charlie Strong said.

Typically, a PCL injury can be treated without surgery — depending on the severity of the tear — but rehabilitation could keep Harris sidelined at least a month.

Harris, a 6-foot, 184-pound Miami native, was among several true freshmen with a chance to be in the rotation immediately, according to offensive coordinator Mike Sanford. His absence could pave the way for true freshmen Jarrett Davis and Kai Dominguez or redshirt freshman Damian Copeland to step forward.

All of the news wasn't bad for the Cards, who learned that linebacker Jordan Campbell has been cleared to practice, though not yet cleared to play.

Campbell, who signed with UofL last month, transferred from USC and has two years of eligibility left. He left the school after it was hit with NCAA sanctions and will not have to sit out a year."

— C.L. Brown

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