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.

Wide receiver Andrell Smith goes high to pull in a pass from Teddy Bridgewater despite the best efforts of linebacker Thaddeus Franklin.

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.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Louisville football has the numbers if not the experience”
  1. HWMNBN did a number on our program! HWMNBN destroyed our player inventory, taking it to a level below the 1AA talent level. Coach Strong and his staff have repaired that with amazing speed and have added quality players that will allow us to win at the BCS level. The defense strength dept of the Cardinals is going to shock our opponents this year! Plus our offense will be good to win because our defense will not allow the opponents to score large amounts of points on us. The Team and the coach staff are doing their part, so we as fan have to be in our seats and giving them the moral support they deserve and have earned.

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