Coach: John L. Smith
34-15-0, 4 years
2001 Record: 11-2
at Kentucky WON 36-10
at Illinois LOST 10-34
at Cincinnati WON 28-13
at Tulane WON 52-7
at East Carolina WON 39-34
at Texas Christian LOST 22-37
Brigham Young WON 28-10

2001 Final Rankings
AP-17, Coaches-16, BCS-UR

Look for another Cardinal All-American, Anthony Floyd, to have another huge year in the interception category.
2002 Outlook

What do the cards say? A full house, maybe a royal flush. Conference USA is currently owned by Louisville and not much changes in 2002 as this team is just as loaded as years past, maybe more so. The defense is way ahead of the offense, as you might expect from a corps returning ten starters and a number of people who contributed to the coverage units. All of which led to what appears to be an unproductive spring offensively. The Cards led Conf USA in 2001-pass defense and still returns everyone including a two time All-American defensive back in Anthony Floyd. Throw in defensive end Dewayne White and that makes three Preseason All-Americans on this Louisville roster. It's really tough finding weak spots in the defensive alignment. Big Dave Ragone is still calling the signals at QB. He does lose a couple of quality receivers but, All-American senior tight end Ronnie Ghent will add to the experience factor. Locating go to receivers and plugging in for some departed seniors on the offensive line has to be a huge, huge concern. Louisville is hands down the favorite to win the conference crown. With a little luck they might just play their way out of the Liberty Bowl for once and make a run at the BCS. Head coach John L. Smith is really building himself a nice reputation for winning in the Blue Grass state. Despite a great defense, equaling last year's record will be no easy task due to what most see as a marginally effective, one-dimensional offense. The running game really needs to exceed expectations and Ragone's pass protection has to patch a few major holes. Probability says the Cards will come into the FSU game after a 4-0 start. Fans, just like most programs on the rise, are extremely pointing hard towards that game in Papa John's Stadium. Fair warning; don't put all the eggs in one basket with that September 26th tussle when determining what a great season equates to, as the Seminoles are loaded. However, a BCS bid will be made or broken on that Thursday night ESPN battle. The Cards will get a nice test prior to that meeting with a trip to Fort Collins. If the offense matures by then, look out.

Projected 2002 record: 11-2

Louisville's search for a capable running back took a step in the wrong direction when Lionel Gates missed the second half of spring practice with a left shoulder injury. Gates also missed the second half of the 2001 season with a right shoulder injury. He had surgery to repair the damage but is expected to be back in time for preseason practice.
QB - 5 DL - 4.5
RB - 2.5 LB - 4
WR - 3 DB - 4.5
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Dave Ragone, 231-383-7, 3056 Yards, 23 TD's

Rushing: T.J. Patterson, 118 att., 576 yds., 7 TD's

Receiving: Ronnie Ghent, 34 rec., 330 yds., 5 TD's

Scoring: Nathan Smith, 13 FG, 39 PAT, 78 pts.

Punting: Wade Tydlacka, 63 punts, 40.6 avg.

Kicking: Nathan Smith, 13-18 FG, 39-40 PAT, 78 pts.

Tackles: Curry Burns, 107 tot., 56 solo

Sacks: Dewayne White, 15 sacks

Interceptions: Ronn Gallishaw, 5 for 51 yards

Kickoff returns: Michael Brown, 4 ret., 19.0 avg.

Punt returns: Anthony Floyd, 14 ret., 14.1 avg.


OFFENSE: Tony Stallings-RB, Zek Parker-WR, Deion Branch-WR, Aaron Dardzinski-OG, Michael Bowers-OG, Rob Eble-OT
DEFENSE: Jeromy Freitag-LB, Michael Josiah-DE (NFL)

The biggest problem facing the University of Louisville football team last year seemed to be the grass at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. This spring, it's the offense that is not yet in full bloom. Louisville does have a Heisman Contender. His name is Dave Ragone. The senior-to-be out of Ohio has been named Conference USA MVP not once, but twice in the last two back-to-back seasons. Ragone is a stalking 6-4, 240 pound athlete with a cannon for an arm. The offense starts here. One point to be made on the offense is the concern for Dave Ragone's protection. The offensive line will be the weakest link for the Cards, as made evident in the spring. Reports out of spring were that Ragone ran for his life, as did many of the backup QB's. New faces have popped up everywhere across the front line, not many have been on campus all that long. The project is going to be a difficult course for coaches when it comes time to settle in on a starting unit. The running back situation looked to anoint a favorite this spring, but due to some health problems, a promising Lionel Gates and company missed some much-needed experience. So now T.J. Patterson is the returning prospect once again in the one-back set. The receivers aren't much unparalleled from the offensive line situation. There are no Deion Branch's out there. A number of competitors exist for the three receiver slots, but none have taken full command. The depth factor here is real nice so fans need not fret. Coach Smith gave his receivers high marks for effort but said their execution was lacking, particularly when it came to hanging on to passes. Junior-college transfer James Taylor led all receivers in the spring game with five catches for 52 yards. Certainly not to be forgotten is the tight end spot with Ronnie Ghent. He is a Preseason All-American, not just for last year's performance, but also for a consistency shown the past two seasons. The man's numbers in 2000 were astonishing. The bottom line is that this spring did not tell much for the offense. Coach Smith didn't expect them to flourish against the Cards' first-string defense, but the offense has a long, long way to go.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Dave Ragone-Sr Stefan LeFors-So
RB T.J. Patterson-Jr Lionel Gates-So
WR Tiger Jones-So Victor Glenn-Jr
WR Damien Dorsey-Sr Robert Haskins-So
WR James Taylor-Jr J.R. Russell-So
TE Ronnie Ghent-Sr Richard Owens-Jr
OT Jason Hilliard-Jr Chris Thigpen-Sr
OG Jason Weathers-Jr Jerry Spencer-Jr
C Dan Koons-Jr Will Rabatin-So
OG Jason Spitz-Fr Antoine Sims-Sr
OT Travis Leffew-Fr Brian Devine-Jr
K Nathan Smith-Jr ..



Every position on the defense has at least one man who started last fall. More talent and more depth at every position exist than most Card fans have ever seen in a red and white uniform. The line is strong, quick and deep and anchored by All-American candidate Dewayne White, who said his goal this summer is to bulk up from 277 pounds to 285. He already is receiving major hype from National Football League draft analysts. The defensive backs from the first string and on down through the depth charts are all competitive. Probably the most underrated part of the defense is the linebacker play of tested veterans Chad Lee, Michael Brown, and Rod Day. The only concern for the defense is depth at linebacker. All three mentioned have done some hard lifting in the weight room and continue to get stronger. The corners have shutdown ability and the safeties are experienced and opportunistic. Very good depth flows at all of the defensive back positions. With the ability to pressure up front and good man coverage underneath, look for another All-American Anthony Floyd, to have another huge year in the interception category. If there is one thing possibly missing it might be a true, punishing inside linebacker bent on stuffing the run. Broderick Clark continues to give the offense excellent field position on punt and kick returns. This guy will be a huge weapon for the Cardinals in the fall. The defense will be the entire strength of the 2002 team. Simply put in the words of Dave Ragone, ''A good defense is a quarterback's best friend,'' he said. ''And I've got some real good friends over there.''


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Dewayne White-Jr Jeremy Seguin-Fr
DT Scott Lopez-Jr Chad Pinkston-Jr
DT Bobby Leffew-So Keeshan Lowe-Sr
DE Devon Thomas-Sr Marcus Jones-So
LB Rod Day-Jr Jonathon Jackerson-So
LB Chad Lee-Sr Robert McCune-So
BAN Michael Brown-Sr Brent Johnson-Fr
CB Ronnie Gallishaw-So J.T. Haskins-Jr
CB Chris Johnson-Sr Josh Minkins-Jr
SS Curry Burns-Sr Jon Gannon-Fr
FS Anthony Floyd-Sr Kerry Rhodes-So
P Wade Tydlacka-Jr ..
Dave Ragone, a 6-4, 240 pound athlete with a cannon for an arm, has been named Conference USA MVP not once, but twice in the last two back-to-back seasons. (AP Photo)