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Louisville's Charlie Strong downplays NFL coach report

Garry Jones/Associated Press
QB Teddy Bridgewater and his Louisville teammates are now long shots to win an at-large BCS bid.

Louisville coach Charlie Strong spent most of his Monday news conference lamenting his team's loss to UCF on Friday, but he also addressed an ESPN report that an NFL advisory committee listed him and Stanford coach David Shaw as strong minority candidates for NFL jobs.

"I've never ever thought about the NFL," said Strong, who is in his fourth season at Louisville. "I've always been around the college game and always been around watching young people grow and develop and taking them and recruiting them and seeing them each and every year they mature and grow up. That's all I've ever been around."

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Strong also said he had not heard about the report until told by Louisville's sports information director.

"Rumors always start this time of the year," said Strong, 53, who has worked for, among others, Lou Holtz, Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier in his career.

Louisville, which went into the season as a long-shot national title hopeful, suffered its first loss of the season Friday to UCF, ending any title hopes.

"Me, personally, I think we were the better team, but we let one get away from us," Strong said. " ... This is the first time adversity hit us and we didn't stand up and go play."

He was complimentary of star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals' offense -- "Offensively, we played an unbelievable game" -- but expressed disappointment with the defense, his specialty.

"Central Florida made plays, but when you put your defense on the field, you also expect them to make plays," he said.

He said UCF's offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and pointed out that Louisville had no tackles for loss. The Cardinals had 64 TFL in their first six games.

Louisville plays at USF this Saturday and should get back on track; indeed, Louisville seems a good bet to finish 11-1. But a weak schedule means almost no chance of an at-large BCS bid. The Cardinals' only realistic hope for a BCS bid is to win out and hope UCF loses twice in league play; that seems unlikely.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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