Opening spring: Louisville

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
9:00
AM ET
Louisville opens spring camp this afternoon. Here is a quick primer on what to expect:

Spring changes: Of all eight Big East teams, the Cardinals have undergone the fewest changes during the offseason. The coaching staff has remained intact, as Shawn Watson was officially promoted to offensive coordinator. Only a handful of senior starters are gone, including Dexter Heyman, Greg Scruggs, Josh Chichester and Victor Anderson. They are big contributors to be sure. But the Cardinals return so many young players from a year ago, many are already projecting this to be one of the best teams in the Big East. You can bet coach Charlie Strong will be sure to hammer home nothing has changed -- as in, they have to stay focused and continue to play like underdogs.

Position battles to watch

Linebacker. Depth has to be built at this position, where the Cardinals lose starter Dexter Heyman. You can be sure all eyes will be on Preston Brown as he transitions inside, and the two early enrollee freshmen -- Keith Brown and James Burgess. Both will be on the weak side behind Daniel Brown. Deiontrez Mount, who transitioned to linebacker last season, is penciled in to start at the other outside position. But you have to think this is a position of flux given some of the incoming talent and the depth that has to be built.

Running back. Victor Anderson is gone, but the Cardinals return several veterans with playing experience in Dominique Brown and Jeremy Wright. Add in Senorise Perry and Corvin Lamb, and you have the makings of an excellent competition this spring. Coaches really want to take a good look at Lamb, a back with 4.3-speed who played with Teddy Bridgewater at Northwestern High in Miami.

Kicker. Chris Philpott is gone, leaving nobody on the roster with experience kicking or punting. So expect a wide-open race this spring and fall. The contenders at kicker are: redshirt freshman John Wallace, and walk-ons Andrew Fletcher and Matthew Nakatani. Incoming freshman Joshua Appleby is expected to compete when he arrives on campus this summer. Ryan Johnson is probably the leader at punter.

Injury update: Defensive end Roy Philon (back), center Mario Benavides (shoulder) and receiver Michaelee Harris (knee) are out.

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