Dec. 27, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The 18th-ranked Louisville football team arrived in New Orleans on Thursday afternoon to begin on-site preparations for the 79th Allstate Sugar Bowl.
The Cardinals, who will face No. 4 Florida on Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m., ET in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (ESPN), arrived at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport at approximately 3:50 p.m., locally on a team charter flight from Louisville. UofL was welcomed off the airplane by a large contingent of Sugar Bowl representatives as well as members of the media.
Immediately after the team's arrival, Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, senior center Mario Benavides and sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater met with reporters for the first of numerous interviews scheduled for the days leading up to kickoff.
"We're really excited to be here and represent the BIG EAST Conference at the Sugar Bowl," Strong said during his opening statement. "If you look at our season, it's a tribute to our players and the resiliency they've had all season long. We started three years ago building a foundation for this team and we're really excited about the direction it's headed. We know we're playing an excellent team in the University of Florida, but we're happy and we're excited. It's great for the University of Louisville, the city of Louisville and for our administration."
Prior to departing, the Cardinals practiced in Louisville for the first time since their four-day break for the Christmas holiday. Upon arriving in New Orleans, the team reported to its headquarters for the week, the New Orleans Marriott, where they spent the evening in preliminary meetings. The team is tentatively scheduled to practice on Friday and Saturday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, on Sunday at the New Orleans Saints practice facility and on Monday back at the Superdome.
"When you think about teams that are the favorites or the underdogs, at the end of the day, you still have to go play the game," said Strong. "With us, it's all about fundamentals and technique. We're going to practice each and every day, so let's take care of that business. We're going to go play this game, but if we're not prepared and we're not locked in and we're not focused, it doesn't really matter."
A full recap of Friday's activities in New Orleans, including the team's first visit to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and numerous player interviews with reporters, will be available here at GoCards.com.