Less than a month away until the Louisville Cardinals kick off their first season under new head coach Charlie Strong. The Cardinals are hoping to rebound after a disastrous 3-year stint with then head coach Steve Kragthorpe.
In his short time here Strong has begun to revitalize the program, bringing much needed excitement and anticipation to Cardinal football. If Strong wants to have a memorable first year, the duties will fall on the backs of these five guys.
1. Victor Anderson (RB)
No surprise here, Vic is one year removed from being named Big East Rookie of the Year. Last season, Vic was plagued with injuries and only saw 89 carries.
Despite only playing in 8 games, Vic still finished the season as the teams leading rusher, rushing for 473 yards and 5 TD’s. This season, Anderson hopes to fight off the injury bug and return to his freshman form. The Louisville native is poised to have a huge year, and will receive a bulk of the Cardinals carries.
2. Doug Beaumont (WR)
Another Louisville native that hopes to erase the sour taste in his mouth after an underachieving season. Beaumont comes in as the most experienced Cardinal receiver, with 38 receptions last season.
Despite 100 career receptions, Beaumont has yet to register a touchdown in a Louisville uniform. That will surely change as Beaumont is going to be a focal point in the Cardinals new spread offense.
3. Brandon Heath (LB)
Certainly looks the part. Heath comes into this season after racking up 48 tackles and picking off a pair of passes last year. Heath started eight games for the Cardinals last season, but was limited due to an ankle injury.
An athletic linebacker that will need to provide leadership on the defensive side of the ball. He has all the intangibles to be a playmaker for head coach Charlie Strong, and I look for him to thrive under the new system.
4. Johnny Patrick (CB)
The closest thing to a shutdown corner the Cardinals have. Patrick, who has started 28 games in his career, brings the most “in-game experience” to the Cardinal defense. Johnny is coming off a career season, recording 53 tackles and 2 INT’s.
5. The Quarterback
A starter has yet to be named, but it’s senior Adam Froman’s job to lose. Froman started seven games last season for the Cardinals, going a dismal 2-5 as the starter. However, Froman does show promise.
He completed 60 percent of his balls, and has the ability to not only make a play with his arm but also tuck it and run if need be. Froman seems like the logical choice under coach Strong’s new spread offense, as he is the most athletic of the three quarterbacks said to be in the running.
Senior Justin Burke is another option the Cardinals have. Burke started just three games last year. He is a think first player. He isn’t the most athletic option the Cardinals got, but he knows how to manage a football game.
Will Stein started two games last season. Stein has the ability to keep plays alive, however he is very inexperienced and his size could be a factor (5’10, 185).
Don’t be surprised if you hear these names
-Cameron Graham (TE)
At 6’4, 255 he is a big target. Graham had 27 receptions last year, averaged12 YPC, and scored twice. Last season he emerged as a very dependable blocker and receiver. Look for his number to be called a lot in the red zone.
-Bilal Powell (RB)
A very talented RB who had 108 carries last season. Powell possesses a rare combination of speed and power that is unmatched on this Cardinal roster.
It would not surprise me to see Bilal post some very impressive numbers this season, as Louisville will probably try and keep a close eye on star RB Victor Anderson to make sure he doesn’t re-aggravate his shoulder injury. Leaving Bilal Powell with plenty of carries.
-Jacques Caldwell (WR)
If the spring game is any indication of what’s to come than Caldwell will be an integral part of this Cardinal offense. Jacques’ is one of the fastest, if not the fastest player on this Louisville team.
He was clocked at a 4.27 40-yd dash, and won the 200-meter dash at the Junior Olympics. I look for the coaching staff to use Caldwell much like the Gators used Percy Harvin.
-Demar Dorsey (S) and Jordan Campbell (MLB):
Are not “officially” part of the team yet, but both are expected to be in a Louisville jersey this season.
Dorsey was previously committed to the University of Michigan, but was not admitted opening the door for head coach Charlie Strong and the University of Louisville. Dorsey is a 4 star recruit, and ranked as the 13th best safety in the nation according to rivals.
Campbell is a MLB transfer from USC, who was highly touted coming out of high school but never really panned out for the Trojans. If both do end up making it to campus, the Cardinals defense gets a much needed improvement as both would see significant playing time, and maybe even start.
Its going to take more than a “select few” if Louisville hopes to be relevant in the Big East standings. But it starts with these players. If the Cardinals can get solid production out of this group they might be able to put together the kind of season Cardinal fans have been waiting for. After all, winning is contagious. If coach Strong can string together a few wins, who knows what this bunch is capable of…