- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Louisville coach Charlie Strong held his pre-spring game news conference Thursday, and had a bit of explaining to do to the local media after closing down access last week.
Strong basically said he feels his team deserves coverage, regardless of what is happening with the other teams on campus. During March, when the men's basketball team was making its run to the Final Four, there was not as much coverage of the football team.
"We are a BCS program," Strong said. "We are an elite program, and I am passionate about this program, and that's what I want to see in this community."
With that out of the way, Strong discussed his team and the way his players came together this spring. Among the highlights:
While the Cardinals have not settled on a starter at running back, Strong likes what his top four players bring to the table. Dominique Brown, Jeremy Wright, Senorise Perry and Corvin Lamb all bring their unique styles, which Strong hopes to be able to use to his advantage this season.
The strength of the defense could very well be in the secondary, where Andrew Johnson, Adrian Bushell, Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor all return. Strong said the experience back there will make him more comfortable playing man coverage.
As for the defensive line, there might not be one standout, but there are some good players returning. He mentioned Brandon Dunn as having had a "special spring." But there is concern on both the offensive and defensive lines about depth. The starting units are looking good, but having quality guys to go in separates champions. "It's all about taking a puzzle and making sure you have each piece and putting it where it needs to be fitted," Strong said.
There are two more areas that need development -- who is going to be the playmaker at wide receiver? That would presumably be DeVante Parker, but Strong said nobody has separated himself in that category. Kicker is another area that has to be addressed, with Chris Philpott moving on.
As for the Arkansas speculation, Strong says he has not been contacted about the open job, and reiterated once again that he is happy at Louisville.