2011 overall record: 7-6
2011 conference record: 5-2 (T-1)
Offense 8; Defense 10; Kicker/punter: 1.
2011 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Victor Anderson (539 yards)
Passing: Teddy Bridgewater* (191-of-296 for 2,129 yards, 14 TDs, 12 INTs)
Receiving: Michaelee Harris* (455 yards)
Tackles: Dexter Heyman (90)
Sacks: Marcus Smith* (5.5)
Interceptions: Heyman (three)
1. Strong secondary. Louisville should have one of the better secondaries in the Big East with the return of cornerbacks Adrian Bushell and Andrew Johnson, and safeties Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor. Highly heralded Gerod Holliman isn't even included in the bunch after sitting out spring with a shoulder injury. Coach Charlie Strong has to be happy with this core group.
2. Preston Brown in the middle. Brown played on the outside last season but has shifted to middle linebacker to replace Dexter Heyman, the team's leading tackler from a year ago. Strong had nothing but praise for the spring Brown had in making the transition. Louisville feels good about having him in there.
3. Bridgewater on the rise. Any time true freshmen have good seasons, the phrase that gets thrown around is "sophomore slump." Therefore, some have wondered whether Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be as effective in Year 2 as he was as a true freshman. If his spring is any indication, he will be much more effective. Bridgewater had complete command of the offense in the spring and grew as a leader as well. Louisville appears to be in good hands.
1. Running back rotation. Strong's preference is to have one workhorse back, but Louisville may not achieve that for the second straight season. Coming out of spring, Strong said his team would most likely work four running backs into some sort of a rotation -- Dominique Brown, Jeremy Wright, Senorise Perry and Corvin Lamb. Just how that rotation will work and how effective the run game will be remain big questions.
2. Maturity. Strong has talked extensively to his players about being more mature this season, especially with increased expectations for another Big East championship. Though his team is more experienced, it's laden with sophomores and juniors who are still learning as they go. This team has to prove it can handle higher expectations, and big wins. After every big win last year, a letdown followed.
3. Kicker. With the reliable Chris Philpott gone, Louisville now turns to redshirt freshman John Wallace, who leads the way after the spring. Most every Big East game comes down to the wire, which increases the value of having a good kicker. Wallace is going to have to prove he can do it in game action right out of the gate.