Last season: Arguably the biggest issue of the defense last season was the lack of pressure put on opposing quarterbacks. The personnel wasn’t the problem. Trevon Young and James Hearns manned the edges and both wreaked havoc in opposing backfields. Jonathan Greenard also saw time at the edge position and had a solid redshirt-sophomore season. Drew Bailey lost most of his senior season due to injuries, which left the front positions to be filled by younger guys. Guys like: G.G. Robinson, and Henry Famurewa filled the void in the front and all return this year looking to build on last year.
The true reason for the lack of pressure upfront came from the scheme installed by former defensive coordinator, Peter Sirmon. Sirmon ran a 3-4 defense and unlike the Todd Grantham, Sirmon rarely (putting ‘rarely’ lightly) brought added pressure outside of the front 3. That should change this year.
This season: Louisville enters this season with questions upfront. Young, Hearns, Bailey and Richardson left voids at their positions. One of the voids left by Young and Hearns at the edge will be filled by Jonathan Greenard. Greenard enters his redshirt-junior season after recording the 7th most tackles on the team and led the team in sacks with 7 and tackles for loss with 15.5. Greenard is poised for a breakout season after a great season last year. You’ll probably see Tabarious Peterson start at the other edge spot. Peterson recorded 18 tackles and had 1 forced fumble last year as a sophomore.
The only certain starter at defensive tackle is G.G. Robinson. Robinson recorded 28 tackles and 3 for a loss as a redshirt-junior. He has the most experience of anyone at this position and could be in for a big year under new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. The other tackle spot will likely be filled by Mike Boykin. Boykin enters is sophomore season as a former 4-star recruit who played last year with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Many rotations will be made to keep bodies fresh. Look for Henry Famurewa, Sophomore Jared Goldwire, and hometown redshirt-sophomore Derek Dorsey of Manual high school to see a lot of snaps.
Outlook: Brian VanGorder’s new defensive scheme will look to apply more pressure than Peter Sirmon ever did. Greenard was a surprising bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season upfront last year. He will set the tone and the other guys will look to follow his lead. If the bodies are kept fresh and we get to see any other scheme other than Sirmon’s, the defensive line should return to their old ways of being a constant in opposing backfields.