Louisville's Doug Beaumont seeks big finish

Doug Beaumont's college career hasn't gone the way he envisioned it.

Beaumont was Kentucky's Mr. Football for the 2006 season, and when he signed with his hometown school of Louisville in 2007, the Cardinals were coming off a 12-win, Orange Bowl campaign. Even with Bobby Petrino leaving for the NFL, Beaumont figured the good times would roll on.

"I knew when I got here there was a winning tradition," he said.

Unfortunately, his career arc has happened to coincide with one of the worst stretches the program has experienced in the past 20 years. Louisville didn't register a winning season or make a bowl game in Beaumont's first three college years, leading to the firing of Steve Kragthorpe.

"It hurts a bit," said the former All-Big East receiver. "When I went into the recruiting process, I looked for a team where I could year in and year out go to a bowl game. It hurts not going to one in my first three years. Hopefully I'll have one before I leave."

For that to happen, the Cardinals will likely need a big year out of Beaumont, who is the team's most experienced and most proven receiver. He led the team with 62 catches for 750 yards as a sophomore, then saw his numbers dip to 38 receptions for 465 yards last year as veterans Scott Long and Trent Guy returned from injuries.

The 5-foot-9, 187-pound Beaumont is one of the quickest players on the team and should thrive as the slot man in Mike Sanford's spread offense. He's also eyeing a role on punt and kickoff returns.

"I can use my quickness and speed to take one-on-one opportunities against linebackers and nickelbacks," he said. "I should be able to get open that way."

And, he hopes, that will allow him to fix a glaring hole in his résumé. Despite being one of the team's top playmakers the past two seasons, Beaumont has yet to score a college touchdown.

"That's one of my big goals, to get that touchdown," he said. "I got one called back last year. Hopefully I'll have more than just one as a senior."

Beaumont likes the way the team is responding to new head coach Charlie Strong. He says the Cardinals have a "swagger" that they lacked the past few seasons, thanks to the attitude injected in them by Strong and his staff. He knows most people are picking Louisville to finish at the bottom of the Big East again, but he said the players are using that as motivation every day in workouts.

Not that Beaumont needs any extra motivation. He wants to finish his career the way he originally envisioned it going.

"Growing up here and watching Michael Bush and Brian Brohm, you just know you want to be a hometown hero," he said. "You want to show your hometown you can win games. I want to get fans the fans motivated and know we're back on the rise."