What You Need To Know About The Louisville Defense
– All the Cardinal defense had to do was occasionally hold serve, and that was a problem. The defense finished tenth in the ACC, had a nightmare of a time getting off the field, and struggled against the decent passing attacks.
And now the secondary has to replace Jaire Alexander and Truman Washington on the corners, and two of the top three tacklers in Chucky Williams and Zykiesis Cannon.
But all is not lost. Dee Smith is a good veteran at one safety spot, and TreSean Smith is going to be fantastic with more work – and once he gets healthy. If transfers P.J. Mbansaor and Rodjay Burns can rise up at corner, the secondary will be okay. Not great, but good enough.
– Welcome to the JUCO transfer world on the defensive front. G.G. Robinson is the lone starter returning up front, and he’ll need help from 6-6, 302-pound Michael Boykin from Mississippi Gulf Coast, and 6-6, 309-pound Washington native Jared Goldwire. There will be a huge issue if the two new guys aren’t terrific out of the box. Fortunately …
– The linebacking corps will be the strength of the D. Dorian Etheridge is a fantastic young star in the middle, and London Iakopo rose up this offseason. Throw in the all-around playmaking ability of Jon Greenard, and the situation is good. It might need to be considering the question marks up front.
Biggest Key To The Louisville Defense
Third down stops. Lamar Jackson was able to bail out the defense time and again by cranking up the offense in shootouts. The O will be good, but the D will have to do its part this year, and that starts with getting off the field.
The defenses were solid at coming up with third down stops in Bobby Petrino’s first three seasons – allowing teams to convert just 31.5% of the time in 2016. A year later? Offenses kept things going more than 41% of the time, with the defense allowing third down conversions at a 45% or more rate six times.
But really, why does this matter? The Cardinals were 2-5 when opposing offenses converted more than 40% of the time.