Charlie Strong comes across as a highly-motivated and disciplined micro manager as University of Louisville football coach. He’s well connected on the college recruiting trail and attuned to what’s happening at other schools. A talented player thinking about transferring? That’s Charlie Strong on the phone.

Charlie Strong

As exhilarating was the news of the two most recent transfers — Demar Dorsey (still not official) and Jordan Campbell — the glee is tempered by significant concerns. Dorsey was denied admission by Michigan because of alleged felonies a few years ago. Campbell, meanwhile, was  on the verge of getting booted off the team by USC’s Lane Kiffen for missing classes and tutoring.

Aware of possible negative perceptions, Louisville fans want to believe Strong, who has already boosted the team’s GPA, will be able to turn such players around. You know, get them to stay out of trouble, focus on becoming contributors instead of takers.

But one is reminded of the case of Carlos Dunlap, the defensive end and leading sack leader at Florida, who was arrested after being found asleep in his car, smelling of alcohol at 3:25 a.m. Had to be suspended, missing the SEC championship game against Alabama.

Was no one making bed checks that week? No one can watch them 24 hours a day. Even a babysitter needs sleep.

Yes, good football teams often have players with discipline-deficit disorders. Along with that come the police blotters and crappy headlines. Those second chances all too often are nullified by additional transgressions. The exceptions, former players like U of L’s Nate Harris who saw the light, provide opportunities for others.

Fans are forgiving as long as teams are making progress on the field. Winning brings absolute absolution. Strong knows that, knows what he’s getting into when he assumes responsibility for turning lives around … as well as football programs.

Tall order all around. But great gains are not made by not taking great risks.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

4 thoughts on “Charlie Strong Is A Risk Taker”
  1. Some good questions raised here. Based on the practices I witnessed, these guys aren’t going to get away with much.

  2. Scott Long encompassed just about everything you would want in a player as a student-athlete at Louisville. Smart, athletic, competitive but understood that winning football games was not the sole importance in a young person’s life. Kragthorpe believed that if you had an entire team of players like Scott Long, then winning would be an expected by-product, regardless of their athletic ability. We all saw the results. Strong, and every other coach wanting to win at the highest level, understands that you have to take risks to bring in the talent necessary to win. Kragthorpe was not willing to accept that fact. Strong is. Stong knows exactly what it takes to win at the BCS level. It may not be ideal but it is what it is. He is only doing what other successful coaches are doing. Fans will forget about the at risk players that flamed out. Strong’s legacy will be judged on his won loss record. With that in mind, he is going to get those players that will help him be successful. He, and we as fans, may not like the process, but it is the nature of his occupation.

  3. If Charlie Strong can’t get these guys to straghten up and fly right, no one can. Whatever they do, they DO NOT want to incur Strong’s wrath.

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