If sheer numbers of players are any indication of progress, the University of Louisville football team has come a long way under Charlie Strong at the beginning of his second year.
Last spring, remember, the coach had less than 40 players on the practice field. There were at least 15 or 16 players on sidelines in various states of disarray, either recovering or getting ready for corrective surgeries.
On Friday, there were almost 100 healthy young athletes going through the motions in U of L’s second practice.
A common complaint from some recent coaches, including John L. Smith and Steve Kragthorpe, was a shortage of bodies. Even Bobby Petrino had major problems with recruits never making it to school. The published numbers never seemed to match reality.
College teams are allowed only 85 scholarship players on their roster but the handouts on Friday listed 99 players, including a number of walk-ons trying to get noticed. And possibly a few others, like Darius Ashley who was listed but is on indefinite suspension.
Quite frankly, I was shocked to see so many players after having attended opening practice sessions over many seasons. Charlie Strong is changing the culture and he now has people getting in line to play for him.
U of L may be short on experience this season but numbers are no longer an issue.