April, if you follow T.S. Eliot, may be the cruellest month, but August may well be the longest. The buildup to college football has become interminable, not the least of which because we get less and less information on the teams every year.
The newspaper produces roughly twice as many stories on U of L and UK football as it did 15 years ago from the start of practice to the season opener, but it has to do so with about half as much information.
So you get a lot of speculation, as many player features as we can cram in, and a lot of reading of the tea-leaves.
Finally this week, though, we begin to get a little more concrete information.
First off, the UK-U of L game Saturday is officially a sellout. I may be wrong, but I believe this will be the largest-attended non-horse racing sports event in Louisville’s history. Anyone with other candidates, drop me an email. I may well be missing something.
Secondly, At U of L, a new set of tea leaves came out on Sunday, the updated depth chart. It’s the first real glimpse we’ve gotten of the starting defense for the Cardinals, and there are plenty of items of interest.
The biggest — freshman Preston Brown is listed as the starter at middle linebacker over senior Antwone Canady and sophomore Daniel Brown has the nod over junior Dexter Heyman at strong linebacker.
Up front, Tim High has nosed ahead at the nose tackle spot, giving the Cards more beef in the starting lineup and further diffusing the most overplayed storyline of the preseason — that U of L’s defensive line is so small that it will simply wilt in the face of Kentucky’s offensive size.
While the group is small, the average weight of U of L’s starting defensive line is exactly one pound lighter than last year’s group — a group that was facing a more experienced Kentucky offensive front. While UK did average 5 yards per carry in last year’s win, it also got outrushed by U of L, so size up front was not the deciding factor in that game.
While it is a factor, I’d be surprised if size up front is the deciding factor in this game.
As expected, transfer wideout Josh Bellamy will start at the X-receiver spot, and Andrell Smith, a sophomore, has worked his way to the top at the Y-receiver position.
We’ll have much more on these, and more on both teams, a little bit later. Heading out to Charlie Strong’s first game-week press conference as U of L coach now. You can catch it live here on courier-journal.com.