Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong wishes he could have one more season.

“I wished we could have redshirted Preston [Brown] and Marcus Smith,” the Coach said as he spoke of this Senior group, like a Father would as he sent his child off to College.

Tis’ such a shame that we’ve came to the end, my friends.

Strong wishes he had one more year with Preston Brown, Marcus Smith, Senorise Perry, Brandon Dunn and a host of others that did not redshirt a season at Louisville.

One more season to experience the good times.

One more season to push through the adverse times.

One more season to break new barriers as Louisville’s steady climb to the top of the College Football mountain races on.

Why wouldn’t he? This group has certainly been mighty special. They’ve been through seemingly all four seasons, the harsh winters where it was always cold, and the beautiful Summers which saw the sun beam brightly on them. They haven’t wavered a bit.

“We brothers,” Senior DT Roy Philon said directly. “It’s gonna be emotional because we brothers, it’s as simple as that.”

Brothers that have taken the Louisville Football to heights that they themselves couldn’t imagine. Ask Fifth-Year Senior Damian Copeland if he every imagined beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl when he arrived at Louisville. Not a chance. But that’s what they’ve done: Make the unexpected become ordinary.

When they play their final home game Saturday at noon against Memphis – hardly a fitting send off for this group – it’s not a cause to dwell on their departure, but yet to celebrate their accomplishments at Louisville.

When Preston Brown – like the other 17 Seniors – committed to the University of Louisville Football Team, the Cardinals we’re coming off a season that saw them have a 34 point loss to Cincinnati, and a 20 point home finale loss to Rutgers. It was a 4-8 finish that tied Louisville’s worst record in a decade.

How did this group of Seniors respond? Flawlessly.

Four straight bowl games. A 70% winning percentage – a percentage only bested once in School History in a four year span (2002-2006). Only the quintessential storybook ending to a 2012 Season when they knocked off Florida in the Sugar Bowl – a game in which none said they could win.

Legacy? Check.  Leaving your mark? Check.

Sure, Charlie Strong gets paid more than most College Football coaches for this type production and rightfully so. But one could only think his appeal would be far less brighter without the contributions individuals have given.

This group – from Preston Brown to walk-on S Alex Witcpalek- have nearly single handily changed the face of Louisville Football.

“These are the guys that have helped us build this program,” Charlie Strong said. “You hope they go out the right way. That is why I said that at the beginning you hate to see this time of year comes because you hate to see these guys move on.”

The Louisville Coaching staff expects to see 55,000 people in the stands on Saturday night. It should be done. They’ve made Louisville Football fans go back to their ‘happy place’ with their play on the field. They erased what Steve Kragthrope left when he dismantled the Louisville Football Program.

“Steve Kragthrope took away some happy things in my life,” a lifelong Louisville fan said. “This group and Charlie Strong have brought it back.”

To the Louisville Fans, I say this: If you have a ticket, you’re doing yourself and your University a disservice if you don’t attend this game or find someone who will. If you don’t listen to me, listen to your Head Coach

“Now, you look at those guys, with two games remaining, they’re 20-3 in their last two years,” Strong said. “The only thing we’re looking for is we need our crowd here They have an opportunity to go to four straight bowl games and have 34 wins under their belt, but you think about what this program, three years prior to them getting here, didn’t go to any bowl games, now they’re going to get a chance to go to four.”

Show up, not for the entertainment but for the players that have done so much for you.

 

 

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Chris Hatfield

Residing in Louisville, KY (via Bardstown, KY). I write things about Louisville Sports. Sometimes you'll like them. Follow me @_ChrisHatfield Email me at chatfield60@gmail.com

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