Louisville was at the top of the conference just four years ago, winning the Orange Bowl under coach Bobby Petrino.
Now it’s Strong’s job to reverse course. The longtime defensive coordinator for Florida was probably long overdue for a shot to guide his own program.
The Cardinals need a major infusion of talent.
“You’ve got to recruit well. You’ve got to coach the fundamentals,” Strong said. “You’ve got to get the kids to believe in themselves and the U.”
A capsule look at the Big East in predicted order of finish:
CONNECTICUT _ Key players: QB Zach Frazer, RB Jordan Todman, LB Scott Lutrus, LB Lawrence Wilson. Returning starters: 8 offense, 8 defense.
Notes: Coach Randy Edsall is in his 12th season at UConn, somewhat of a surprise considering his name often is mentioned as a candidate for other jobs, such Kansas and Notre Dame last year. …. Schedule sets up nicely even though Huskies play four league road games. Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Cincinnati all come to Rentschler Field. … Frazer, a Notre Dame transfer, gives Huskies their best QB since Dan Orlovsky left Storrs.
PITTSBURGH _ Key players: RB Dion Lewis, DE Greg Romeus, WR Jon Baldwin, S Dom DeCicco. Returning starters: 5 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Lewis was the league’s offensive player of the year as a freshman, running for 1,799 yards and 17 scores. … Romeus was the defensive player of the year, and passed up a chance to enter the NFL draft and be an early round pick … QB Tino Sunseri entered preseason practice atop the depth chart. … Last four games, in consecutive weeks, are at UConn, at USF, home for West Virginia and at Cincinnati.
CINCINNATI _ Key players: QB Zach Collaros, WR Armon Binns, LB Jake Schaffer. Returning starters: 7 offense, 5 defense.
Notes: While the offense will have a very similar look under Jones, the Bearcats’ defense goes from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme. The defense relied heavily on making big plays last year and when the sacks and turnovers didn’t come the unit gave up yards and points in bunches late in the season … WR Vidal Hazelton, a USC transfer, should help make up for loss of star Mardy Gilyard.
WEST VIRGINIA _ Key players: RB Noel Devine, WR Jock Sanders, S Robert Sands. Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense.
Notes: QB Geno Smith, a sophomore, is a first-year starter but a touted prospect with some game experience after backing up Jarrett Brown last year … Devine averages a touchdown every 17 times he touches the ball … Sept. 25 game at LSU is getting plenty of hype around Morgantown this offseason.
RUTGERS _ Key players: QB Tom Savage, WR Mohamed Sanu, S Joe Lefeged. Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense.View Entire Story
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