Running back Dominique Brown is ready for a good junior year at the University of Louisville, expecting more duty in the Wild Card formation and elsewhere during the upcoming season.
Plenty of speed, talent, versatility and confidence to go around during the first few days of the University of Louisville fall football practice, with the season opener about three weeks away now.
But leave it to Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford to put things in perspective.
“We like how they look on the practice field, we like what we see on paper, and they have great attitudes,” he said during Media Day at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
“But we have a bunch of young players. We have to see how they react when the lights are turned on and the band starts playing ‘My Old Kentucky Home.’ They might get all weepy-eyed and start crying or something.”
Bedford said his defense will miss Dexter Heyman. “He was like a big brother, making sure everyone was where they needed to be,” he said. “We need some people to take up the slack. The kind of attitude we want to instill in our guys is that when a football goes in the air, it’s ours. When the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, it’s ours.”
Charlie Strong seemed close to admitting he was concerned about the high expectations. “We’ve got a lot of young players,” he said. “We’re telling them to not get caught up in all the noise. What they need to focus on is getting better as players and go out and play within themselves.”
Other notes from Media Day:
- Senior tight end Nate Nord, who has been injured several times, offered to leave the team in January. But Strong refused to consider. The coach reassured Nord that he was needed and would be a contributor. “I wasn’t going to let him quit,” he said. (Nord was seen on crutches again last week.)
- Zeke Pike has indeed transferred from Auburn. “When you come into this program, you’re going to understand how this program is run,” said Strong. “We sat down with him and he understands our expectations. We met with his parents, and he will be part of this program.” The coach added that he has not determined what position Pike will play.
- Michaelee Harris continues to recuperate from recurring leg injuries but he could possibly be ready by the opening game.
- Bedford said U of L had not even considered contacting any Penn State players after the NCAA action. “I wasn’t raised that way. We’re not going to act that way. That’s not what this program is about.”
- On U of L fans buying 2,060 tickets in 19 minutes on Wednesday, Strong said: “It just shows how much support this program has from the fans and the level of excitement about this team,” he said. “The players were very excited about the news.”
- Shawn Watson, offensive coordinator, on Teddy Bridgewater: “He’s confident but never overconfident. He doesn’t have highs or lows. He thrives on getting to be a better quarterback, wanting to be the best he can be. He’s just Teddy, every day.”