Spring Practice Primer: Louisville

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Louisville.


Spring Practice Starts: March 21

Spring Game: Saturday, April 21

Three things to look for:

1. Teddy Bridgewater's development as Louisville's star quarterback. It took a few games of shared snaps and an unexpected injury to Will Stein, but by the end of the 2011 season there was no doubt that Teddy Bridgewater was the future of the Cardinals' offense. Bridgewater completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns on the way to being unanimously selected as the Big East Rookie of the Year, as well as a member of the CBSSports.com Freshman All-America Team. Now curiosity surrounding the touted quarterback has evolved into expectations, and Bridgewater is no longer an under-the-radar talent for the Cardinals in 2012.

2. Filling holes on a defense ready to excel. Louisville finished 2011 ranked second in the Big East for scoring and total defense, but the unit lacked consistency from a personnel standpoint throughout the year. First Team All-Big East defensive backs Hakeem Smith and Adrian Bushell will lead the secondary, but head coach Charlie Strong needs to identify a permanent starter at the other corner and safety position. The Cardinals will miss the leadership of linebacker Dexter Heyman, the team leader in tackles (90) and tackles for loss (16.0) in 2011, and look to senior Daniel Brown and junior Preston Brown to fill that role.

3. New expectations and standard for success. Louisville flew below the radar in 2011, getting off to a 2-4 start before winning five of their final six regular season games to claim a share of the Big East title. The rocky opening to the season was a harsh welcome for many redshirt and true freshmen, making their first appearance on a college football field. The Cardinals need to learn from that start and maintain focus, because they are not flying under the radar anymore. Louisville has a chance to repeat as Big East champions in 2012, but they cannot get lost in the hype or expectations.

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