Louisville Cardinals College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense that rose up and finished third in the ACC allowing just 369 yards and 27 points per game loses way too many key parts. Six starters are gone with most of the losses coming in the back eight, and now the coaching staff has to put it all together while trying to get more out of the pass rush.
– The linebacking corps takes the hardest hit with Rodjay Burns and Dorian Etheridge two top tacklers who were also the biggest stars at getting into the backfield.
Leading tackler CJ Avery returns on the weakside after coming up with a team-high 79 tackles, and 225-pound Monty Montgomery should be terrific in place of Etheridge in the middle after finishing fourth on the team in tackles. Yasir Abdullah is a strong all-around playmaker at one outside spot.
– The defensive backs can tackle, but there’s plenty of work to do around star corner Kei’Trel Clark. He came up with 36 tackles and broke up ten passes, and Chandler Jones is a good enough veteran to hold his own on the other side.
It’s going to take some work to figure out the safeties – expect lots of playing around with the options in fall camp. Losing fifth-leading tackler Russ Yeast to Kansas State to Kansas State doesn’t help, but getting Kendrick Duncan from Georgia Southern is a big plus.