Louisville linebacker Preston Brown said that he was not surprised LSU vaulted the Cardinals in the AP Top 25.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville football coach Charlie Strong was joined by linebackers Preston Brown and James Burgess at his weekly Monday press conference. No offensive players attended.
Perhaps Strong rewarded his defense for the solid effort the Cardinals delivered while defeating Kentucky, 27-13, Saturday. Brown and Burgess lead U of L with 13 solo tackles each this season. Brown also has two sacks and a forced fumble while Burgess has broken up three passes while forcing a fumble.
The Cards play host to FIU Saturday at noon at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. There's not much to say about FIU, other than the Panthers are one of the five worst FBS teams in the country, as evidenced by their 122 ranking in total offense and 114 ranking in scoring defense.
Most of the questions in the press conference were about Louisville's position in the national polls, reaction to how the Cardinals performed against the Wildcats and other non-FIU topics. Here is a collection of what Brown, Strong and Burgess said.
LINEBACKER PRESTON BROWN
Are you surprised that Louisiana State jumped Louisville into sixth place in the Associated Press Top 25?
"I'm not worried about the polls right now. It is what it is right now. The SEC teams will probably jump us over just from the caliber of teams they're playing right now. That's expected for the most part."
Grading the Cardinals' defensive performance against Kentucky?
"We did great on third down but the fourth down was three out of four so we were slacking there. It was a great effort. Just too many missed tackles that led to the big running plays at the end of the game. We've just have to learn how to finish games."
Worried about a letdown against an 0-3 FIU team?
"We can't have a letdown because over the last few years this team has played us pretty well throughout my time being here. So we know they're going to come out and play hard. They know a lot of guys on the team. So it's going to be that big Miami rivalry with those guys. We know it's going to be a tough game."
Can the defense improve?
"We can get a lot better because we haven't put together a complete game yet. Just with the miscommunication with the back end sometimes. They had a lot of drops the last game that you saw. We need to put the game together, learn how to get the stops. We've been doing great on third down. Just the missed tackles, that's what we need to work on the rest of the year."
COACH CHARLIE STRONG
Was he surprised that FIU fired Mario Cristobal (now the offensive line coach at Alabama) after last season?
"It's those guys' call. I just hope I'm never getting that surprise."
Does the competitor in Strong wish the Cardinals had a Top 25 team on their non-conference schedule?
"You know what happens with your schedule. You'd always like to have one of those top opponents. You would love to. You'd have loved to play an early game where you could have gotten one of those top opponents in it. When you feel like you have a good football team that's what you'd like to see happen for your program.
"Not only for your program but everyone that's involved with the program within the city. We didn't get that opportunity so now I just tell them all the time, guys it's all about us playing against ourselves. Let's just make sure that we don't slip. If we don't slip, then at the end of the year we'll just let it be where it is and see how it falls."
What's the challenge of getting his team ready for FIU?
"One of the toughest tasks for a coach is getting his team read to play a team when its highly favored. I want our team to constantly play as if we've got something to prove. A lot of teams know how to be successful, but very few know how to handle success. We're really never playing an opponent. Our players have to understand that. We're playing against ourselves.
"Never become too satisfied. Satisfaction leads to loss of hunger.
"We know this is a team that two years ago beat us here at home. Last year we went to FIU and it was a close game. We only won by seven. We understand the task ahead of us. We know that as a coaching staff we've got to get our players focused, get them prepared and get them ready to go play a football game.
LINEBACKER JAMES BURGESS
How does he need to improve?
"I'm just here to work every day and work to perfection to get better and better every day."
Is he satisfied with his performance?
"I'm not now. I have too many missed tackles. For my goals this year I have to tighten up on that, focus on playing and sustaining this game coming with FIU."
The importance of making stops on third down?
"Like the coaches say, it's the money down. We have to get off the field no matter what. Do what it takes to get off the field on money down."