Last year’s secondary had high expectations to live up to after Gerod Holliman tied the NCAA record for interceptions. Josh Harvey-Clemons was the guy to fill that void, but he had help. The secondary was young and experienced many growing pains, more often in missed tackles than blown coverages. The Louisville defense intercepted 17 passes last season which ranked them 14th in the nation. The safety duo of Chucky Williams and Josh Harvey-Clemons each had 3 interceptions, Trumaine Washington added 3 as well, while Shaq Wiggins had 2, and Jaire Alexander and Jermaine Reve each had 1. Of the 17 interceptions, 12 came from defensive backs, and the only defensive back with an interception not returning is Jermaine Reve (graduated).
The Georgia transfer duo of Harvey-Clemons and Wiggins proved a lot last year. When Harvey-Clemons made the decision to return for his senior year, Cardinal fans everywhere cheered. He was 3rd on the team in tackles and tied with Washington and Williams for most interceptions with 3. Shaq Wiggins led the team in passes defended last year with 11, the next closest? Junior Safety Chucky Williams with 7. Chucky Williams is known for being a hard-hitting safety with a great nose for the ball, he and ball hawk senior Josh Harvey-Clemons will prove themselves to be a dominant safety duo in the ACC this season. Juniors Shaq Wiggins and Trumaine Washington both had solid sophomore performances and both could be confidently called upon to cover the opponent’s best receiver. Throw in sophomore Jaire Alexander to the cornerback mix after proving to be a solid tackler and cover corner in the Music City Bowl to end his freshman season on a promising note. Although the group struggled last year with tackling at times, they really came on at the end of the year. An urgent message from Coach Bobby Petrino stressed the need to wrap up after the 2nd half debacle that was trying to tackle Dalvin Cook and after that the change was significant. This group is familiar with the defense and with each other now. The mistakes we saw disappear game by game should merely be a thing of the past. This secondary will be tough for any offense to throw on, further emphasizing my opinion that this year’s team will go as far as the defense takes them, and I’m confident they’re going to take them far.