BOZICH: Strong Loves Speed; Joker Shrugs at Predictions: Nagle Touts His Son
SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Notes, quotes and outrageous chatter from the Governor's Cup press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Cardinal Club:
*The gap between the elite Southeastern Conference programs and other leagues seems to grow by the minute. Louisville coach Charlie Strong has a long background in the SEC.
Strong said you don't need an FBI investigation to uncover the reasons. It's actually quite simple:
Guys in the South are generally faster than players from outside the area. SEC can outrun the world.
"They're just different," Strong said. "There are fast guys in other parts of the country, but they're not as fast as the guys in the South. They just aren't. There are just more leaner, faster athletes."
U of L has 14 new players from Florida, Georgia and Alabama, building upon the pipeline into the South that Strong and his staff have already created.
*Kentucky coach Joker Phillips is surprised that so much noise has been stirred by the consensus predictions about the Wildcats finishing seventh in the East Division of the SEC.
"What's the highest you can remember us being picked?" Phillips asked me.
Maybe fourth. More likely fifth. Sometimes sixth.
"When have we ever been picked high?" Phillips asked. "The only difference this year is that we've added another team (Missouri) to the division and they're picked ahead of us and Vanderbilt is getting more attention. I like my team."
As I said last week, the lack of expectations can be a good thing if Phillips delivers. The world loves an overachiever.
*Several years ago it appeared that UK had built a strong pipeline into Louisville Central High School. Phillips had three highly ranked prospects from Central on his team – defensive lineman Mister Cobble, linebacker Ridge Wilson and linebacker Tim Patterson.
Now there is one – Cobble.
Wilson was dismissed from the team after last season, and Phillips said Patterson is not with UK anymore either. Patterson picked UK over U of L, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Purdue and Indiana and was considered one of the top prospects in the area. Knee problems slowed his development.
*Former University of Louisville quarterback Browning Nagle said that Strong has done great work making former U of L players feel appreciated by the program.
Nagle said that hasn't always been true since the players from the 1990 Fiesta Bowl team, the one that defeated Alabama, left Louisville.
Now Nagle would like Strong to take the love to the next level.
How can the Cards do that?
By recruiting Nagle's son, B.J., a junior quarterback at Briarcrest Christian High School in Memphis.
"I got on Charlie a little bit (Tuesday) night," Nagle said, with a laugh. "I told him they had to recruit my boy. He can play. He's good."
Nagle is 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds. He started on the Briarcrest varsity for the final four games as a freshman as well as his entire sophomore season. He's attended camps at Alabama, Mississippi State and several other SEC schools. Nagle said he was receiving considerable attention from Arkansas until Bobby Petrino was fired.
Nagle passed for 1,022 yards as a sophomore, but completed only 38.8 percent of his throws, according to www.tnsuperprep.com. Expect Strong and his staff to view some B.J. Nagle tape.
*Lee Corso is 12 days from his 77th birthday. He may never retire.
Corso, the former U of L and Indiana coach, attended the luncheon and said he's excited about beginning another season from the set of ESPN's College GameDay, even if Erin Andrews will no longer be on the scene.
Corso said GameDay will be in Arlington, Texas on Sept. 1, the opening Saturday of the college football season, for the Michigan-Alabama game at Texas Stadium.
"Can't wait," Corso said. "I'm excited to get started."
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