<
>

Louisville spring wrap

2009 overall record: 4-8

2009 conference record: 1-6, T-7th Big East

Returning starters

Offense: 9. Defense: 6. Punter/kicker: 1

Top returners

QB Adam Froman, QB Justin Burke, RB Victor Anderson, RB Bilal Powell, WR Doug Beaumont, CB Johnny Patrick, LB Brandon Heath

Key losses

WR Scott Long, WR Trent Guy, LB Jon Dempsey, LB Antwan Canady, DT L.D. Scott, DT L.T. Walker

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Victor Anderson* (473 yards)

Passing: Adam Froman* (1,354 yards)

Receiving: Scott Long (1,727 yards)

2010 Schedule

Sept. 4: Kentucky

Sept. 11: Eastern Kentucky

Sept. 18: at Oregon State

Oct. 2: at Arkansas State

Oct. 9: Memphis

Oct. 15: Cincinnati

Oct. 23: Connecticut

Oct. 30: at Pittsburgh

Nov. 6: at Syracuse

Nov. 13: South Florida

Nov. 20: West Virginia

Nov. 26: at Rutgers

Tackles: Jon Dempsey (107)

Sacks: Chris Campa (6)

Interceptions: Chaz Thompson (3)

Spring answers

1. Only the Strong survive: From his "Circle of Life" drills to open practice to the way he and his staff raised the intensity of every workout, new coach Charlie Strong did everything he could to instill toughness and passion in the Cardinals. The team, which is tired of losing, seemed to buy in to Strong's methods wholeheartedly. Louisville hopes it can make up for what it may lack in talent with heart.

2. Crowded backfield: Victor Anderson, who was limited by offseason shoulder surgery, is one of the best running backs in the Big East. Bilal Powell looked sleeker and faster this spring, while redshirt freshman Jeremy Wright impressed everybody before suffering a sports hernia injury. The Cardinals felt so good about their tailback depth that they moved Darius Ashley to cornerback.

3. Kicking it up a notch: Louisville was pretty horrendous on field goals the past two years and shuffled through kickers while looking for someone who could do the job. Chris Philpott seized control of that position this spring and drilled several long field goals in high-intensity drills. A few more field goals here and there could make the difference in a winning or losing season.

Fall questions

1. Quarterback conundrum: Adam Froman and Justin Burke split reps with the first team throughout the spring, and Strong has yet to name a starter. It's the second straight year that Louisville will enter the fall without a clear No. 1 quarterback. And will freshman Dominique Brown get a chance to compete there when he arrives this summer?

2. Trouble in the trenches: Simply put, the defensive line did not look talented enough to compete with the better offensive lines in the Big East throughout much of this spring. The interior of the line lacks bulk and strength, while Louisville hasn't had a top-flight edge pass rusher in a couple of years now. It's a problem that probably will only get fixed through recruiting.

3. Secondary concerns: Moving Ashley wasn't just a sign of strength in the offensive backfield. It was a desperation move to shore up the defensive backfield. Johnny Patrick is a solid cornerback, but the other corner spot was a mess. And with Terrence Simien sitting out the spring while he recovered from a kidney injury, the safeties didn't look so hot either. Combine the secondary issues with the lack of a legitimate pass rush, and there are major reasons to be concerned for this defense heading into the fall.