By Paul Sykes
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Sportmen’s Supper Club on Wednesday, Charlie Strong madeÂ very clear in his 25-minute talk that he’ll only accept one thing out of his University of Louisville football players this fall.
The conclusion was inescapable for the 200 fans in attendance: Bring it or go elsewhere. Maximum effort will go hand-in-hand with high expectations and coaches who are here to win.
“I can’t tell you what our record will be this year yet,” he said. “That and whether we’ll beat Kentucky are the two most questions people ask me.”
Strong confided, however. “What I will tell you is that I’ll have a team on the field that will give me and the fans 100 per cent. Or, they won’t be out there.Â Don’t know who will be my starting quaterback yet but I will tell you it’ll be the guy who does the best job this fall in practice”
Strong offered a few glimpses into some decision he has made since arriving on the U of L Campus, including moving of Darius Ashley from offense to defense.
“I like him over there,” said Strong. “He made the commitment, he’s down to about 180-185 pounds and he looks like a defensive back. I think he’ll please us, the fans and himself with the commitment.”
On Doug Beaumont:
“I told him: You take one to the end zone this year, and yeah, I’ll let you spike it. (The remark drew the biggest round of laughter of the evening.)
On Josh Chichester:
“He’s 6-foot-9. He should be able to catch something, shouldn’t he? He’ll get a chance to prove it to us”
On the season ahead:
“We have seven home games. Seven chances for you to get out there and get behind this team. I want you out there supporting these guys. We’re going to do everything we can to get them ready. You get behind them.”
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Charlie Strong is not a care free distributor of words. Each one counts, like he hopes each action by his defensive and offensive does. He tells you in plain, simple and clear English what he expects. He knows that he didn’t inheirit a ton of returning talent.
He believes he can make what he has better, make them try hard and he is confident he can build upon what he has each year. He is grateful for his chance to finally wear the head coaching cap. He is putting his all into it and he has high standards.
That, alone, should please Louisville fans this upcoming season. He’s here to get the job done. He expects the same out of those who will coach with him and play for him. He is driven and determined.
Cardinal fans, we are fortunate to have him. Let him know. This isn’t a waffling, iffy, introspective Steve Kragthorpe. This is Charlie Strong coming at you, all barrels blazing and ready to settle this thing.
I have a feeling he will, much to the satisfaction of those watching and waiting.