QB Teddy Bridgewater during Friday's Sugar Bowl practice.
Dec. 28, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The University of Louisville football team officially began preparations for the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday with its first workout at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
The No. 18 Cardinals conducted a workout out for a little more than two hours on the game field where they will take on third-ranked Florida, which finished the regular season at 11-1 and 7-1 in the SEC.
"We are definitely excited for this opportunity," said defensive tackle Brandon Dunn. "This is a big stage, but I feel we are ready for the challenge. We know Florida is a good football team so we will be ready to give it our best shot."
The Cardinals' offense is definitely in for a huge challenge against one of the nation's top defenses, but the Cardinals understand they must play great defense to prevent the Gators from pinning their ears back and coming after the quarterback.
"We have to play solid defense," said Dunn. "We can't allow them to dictate the tempo with their running game and just let them run the football at us. We have to be sound in our gaps and tackle the ball carrier, and eliminate big plays."
The Gators don't make a lot of mistakes with the football, especially from the quarterback position in Jeff Driskell. The Gators signal caller averages 143.9 yards through the air per game, but refuses to hurt himself with critical mistakes.
"They run more routes for their skill set," said senior cornerback Adrian Bushell. "They tend to run shorter and quicker routes so we have to be ready for their quick passing game. We also know they like to run the football, which is the thing we have to be ready for."
One thing the Cardinals have to look forward to is having a healthy quarterback in sophomore Teddy Bridgewater. The BIG EAST Offensive player of the Year played in the win over Rutgers with a broken wrist on his non-throwing arm and a severe ankle injury, but he battled and led the Cardinals to their second-straight BIG EAST title.
"I have a lot of respect for Teddy," said junior wide receiver Damian Copeland. "He played with a broken wrist and hurt ankle, and he went out there and fought. I know where he heart was and I knew where his heart was for the team."
The Cardinals will continue preparations with another afternoon workout on tomorrow. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and five offensive players will address the media on Saturday morning.