ORLANDO, Fla. --- Louisville practiced for about two hours Monday in Orlando ahead of Saturday's Russell Athletic Bowl against Miami, during a day that also included a Best Buy shopping spree and team trip to Universal Studios theme park.
Our thanks to Louisville Assistant Sports Information Director Rocco Gasparro for these post-practice quotes from Charlie Strong, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and safety Calvin Pryor:
Head Coach Charlie Strong
(On being back in Orlando)
"It's game preparation so we were focusing on first and 10 and play action. We have been practicing for a week now. It's all about the game and the approach to the game. We just have to be sharp and focus on our keys and responsibilities."
(What do you notice about Miami)
If you look at them offensively, they are a good football team. They have a very strong offensive line. Their wide receivers can really run and the quarterback does a good job of managing the offense. Defensively, they don't give up the big play, and they will make you earn everything you get."
(On health heading into bowl)
"We are right where we need to be. We have some nicks and bruises, but no one that should be out for this game."
(What a win would mean to program)
"We are playing a quality opponent. We are playing an opponent that now we are going into the ACC, will be on our schedule next season. It's going to be a measuring stick at just how far we need to go and just how much better we need to get."
(On the holiday preparation)
"They understand. We went to the Belk Bowl a few years ago around the same time. They understand what they have to do. Christmas is coming up and we will celebrate Christmas as a team, but then we will get back to work.
(On Stephen Morris)
"He is surrounded by some really good players. He just does a great job of just managing the offense. Their offensive line does a great job of blocking. They are big up front and the wide receivers do a good job of getting down the field. They have a lot of speed and they play at a high level."
(On the loss of Duke Johnson)
"Duke is an outstanding player. Anytime you lose a player like Duke it is hard to replace, but they have enough running backs. They have done a good job recruiting so they have guys that are playing well."
(On having extra juice for this game)
"They have to understand that they can't get too high or too low for this game. We just have to stay even keel and prepare like we have prepared all season long."
QB Teddy Bridgewater
(On Miami's defense)
"Every game we have the mindset that we will take what the defense gives us. That is how we are going to approach this game. We have studied them, but we aren't going to just go out there fishing. We are going to have a good game plan. We are going to operate and try to nickel and dime them. There are plenty of opportunities out there for us and we will see how we can take advantage of those opportunities."
(On what Miami's defense does well)
"They are fast and very physical. They have a ton of playmakers on defense. They are well-assigned and extremely well-coached."
(On playing Miami giving his history with them)
"No, not at all. I'm treating this game like any other game. No game is bigger than the next game. I go into every game with the same mindset of executing our offense, managing the offense, and taking what the defense gives us."
(Reaction to playing Miami)
"It was a huge wow factor once I heard we were playing the University of Miami because I am from Miami. I grew up watching the Hurricanes, for Florida State, Florida, all the Florida schools. It was very shocking. We do have the mindset that this is a big game because they are on our schedule next season. We are just going to treat it like any other game."
(On his decision about turning pro or coming back to school)
"I do know that after this game I have a big decision to make. There are things that are going to factor into that decision such as my personal goals and team goals. After this game I will evaluate everything and go from there."
(On pros to going back to school)
"Just finishing something that I started and continue to be out there with guys I grew up with like Michaelee Harris, Eli Rogers and Jermaine Reve. The relationship I have with those guys is a special bond."
(On pros to coming out for the NFL Draft)
"Just fulfilling a dream that I've had since I've been a child. I can make an impact on the city and the area that I from, and be a living testament to those who are trying to chase their dreams and their goals. If I can do it, then they can do it also."
(Do you think you are ready for the NFL)
"Of course I do. I feel that I'm ready, but I also feel that I'm not. It can go either way. You always have areas that you can improve. Like I said, after this game I will just evaluate everything."
(What areas can you get better)
Just the little things. For one, I feel I can get bigger. I'm not as heavy as I was last year, but I can attribute to my mouth surgery. I feel that I can easily gain weight back, as I am in the process of gaining it back. I'm down about 10 pounds. It didn't feel different, but at the same time it did from a durability standpoint, being able to withstand a long season. There wasn't a negative effect, but if I was 10 pounds heavier that I could have more zip on my throws."
(Did he feel like he improved from last year)
I feel like I improved a lot from last year in my touchdowns, interception ratio and my completion percentage. I've become a better leader. I've demanded guys respect on the field, off the field and in the locker room. It was just a great year."
"It bothered me a little. But that's college football. We can only control what we can. I just let my play continue to speak for itself and I continue to add to my resume each week."
S Calvin Pryor
(On Stacy Coley)
"We have to key on Stacy Coley. He has speed. We have to slow him down and make him do something he doesn't normally do."
(Have ever faced wide receivers like this)
"No, we haven't. To be honest, this is probably the best offense we have faced since I've been at the University of Louisville. They have big play-makers in the quarterback and running back position, and even the tight end gets the ball and can make things happen with it. We just have to be sound and read our keys and make plays on the ball."
(On the challenge of playing this offense)
"This is something I look forward too. I just want the best. I'm a competitor and when you compete it brings out the best in you. When I line up against those guys, I fully be fully confident when we line up Saturday night, and we will see what happens."
(On Teddy Bridgewater)
"Everyone knows Teddy (Bridgewater). The way he studies film, his playmaking ability and the way he leads by example, that's what makes him special. He don't talk too much, he just goes out and operates."
(On what a win will do against Miami)
"This would be a great win, coming off the Sugar Bowl win last year, and then having a chance to play Miami. If we can win, it would be a stepping stone for coach Strong and the program as we head into the ACC."