University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong says he expected the Cards to improve over last season but he never dreamed that this team would have a 9-0 record and a top-ten national ranking, given the youth of his recruiting classes.
“I’m shocked that we’re this far along, I’ll say that. I am shocked that we’re this far along in our third year. Because, when you look at it, when you get your team to the junior-senior group of guys then that’s when you feel like you’re going to be solid,” he said.
Strong credits his older players, those he did not recruit, for much of the team’s success.
The Cards remained unbeaten with Saturday’s 45-17 victory over Temple.
U of L climbed a spot to number 11 in this week’s Associated Press poll, and remain at the number ten spot in the USA Today/coaches’ poll.
The Cards are now ninth in the BCS standings, used to determine bowl match-ups and the eventual national champion.
Strong was hired the same year as Kentucky’s Joker Phillips, who was fired Sunday, but will coach the Wildcats’ final two games this season.
“Joker and I are good friends and you hate within this profession for that to happen to anyone, and there’s a young man who put in 22 years at a university, he was a player there and also he coached there,” Strong said at his weekly press conference.
“But, you have to look at it, this is a business, and their AD and president made that decision. But I know this—Joker will fall on his feet because he’s an outstanding coach and outstanding person.”
Louisville and Syracuse will kick off at noon Saturday in the Carrier Dome.
Kentucky returns to action November 17 against Samford.