Dec. 29, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Day two of preparations in New Orleans for the 2013 Allstate Sugar continued for the Louisville football team on Saturday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Cardinals conducted another two-hour workout on the stadium field in preparation for the showdown with the Florida Gators on Wednesday night on ESPN (8:30 p.m., ET).
The road back to this stage began in 2010 when that team laid the foundation to get the program back to this point. After not attending bowls from 2007-09, the Cardinals got back to relevance in 2010 when they went 7-6 and won the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"The beginning was a long time ago," said senior offensive tackle Alex Kupper. "We were on a big stage in 2006 when we were building the program and it took a little dive, but then in 2010 when Coach Strong came in and that year we won a bowl game and started rolling the ball in the right direction and last year we built on that and this year we took a big step."
The Cardinals are back on the upward tick after back-to-back BIG EAST championships and heading into next season, the Cardinals have nearly their entire team returning. The Cardinals return everyone but three starters on offense and the most of the defense will also be back in 2013. The chance to gain respect for this year and upcoming years begins on Wednesday night with a game against the third-ranked Gators.
"The players and the coaches are committed," said Kupper. "We proved that four weeks ago when Strong said he wanted to stay and really build this program. The dedication that he shows and the amount of respect he has for his players and coaches I think we can be on this stage a lot."
However, the Cardinals know what they are facing in the Sugar Bowl, a powerful team from one of the best conferences in the country.
"They are a sound defense," said junior wide receiver Damian Copeland. "The SEC defense is a great defense. All we can do is control what we do as an offense and everything else will take care of itself. We can't make mistakes and we have to capitalize on their mistakes. We have to play great special teams, play great defense and play great offense. We have got to win every phase of the game."
The Cardinals return to practice on Sunday at the New Orleans Saints practice facility due to the Saints' game versus the Carolina Panthers in the Superdome on Sunday afternoon.