The football season is fast approaching. With one position preview in the books, we now turn our heads to a unit that certainly has room for improvement from last year, the Defensive Line.
The defensive front wasn’t the source of all the Cards’ problems last year, however, as a group there is a lot to be seen from the guys upfront. As a defense, Louisville allowed 278.8 yards per game on the ground on 46 carries (6.1 yards per carry!) to go along with 3.3 touchdowns per game from rushing alone. We all watched the debacle that was UofL football last year, but those stats make everything a bit more obvious that things were just flat-out rough last year. But enough about last year, it’s a new year and I firmly believe this year’s unit will perform much better than last year’s.
Departures: Henry Famurewa
Starters: Amonte Caban, G.G. Robinson, Tabarius Peterson, Ty Tyler
Two of the three projected starters are redshirt-seniors (Caban, Robinson) and Peterson is a redshirt-junior, so the defensive line will have plenty of years of experience. On last year’s squad, Caban and Peterson were 4th and 6th in total tackles and 1st and 2nd in tackles for loss, respectively. Look for their production at the Defensive End positions to again lead the team.
G.G. was a highly touted recruit from high school and has a lot of potential to be Louisville’s next great nose tackle, if he can make the leap from junior to senior. He showed a lot of promise early last year, but like the rest of the team, production slowed towards the later half of the season. But this season is a fresh start for everyone and I expect G.G. to show a lot of leadership and improvement this season.
Ty Tyler is a grad transfer from Marshall and will likely start right away. The 6’3″ 260-pound DL can play both defensive tackle and defensive end, so his versatility will likely keep him on the field often and keep defenses guessing. Tyler had 9 sacks last season, which would’ve been first on Louisville’s team last year. He grew up in Florida, and we all know how well Florida-raised players have done for the program. I look for him to add a lot of experience and depth in the unit.
Reserves: Derek Dorsey, Jared Goldwire, Malik Clark, Jarrett Jackson
The reserves will be just as important as the starters this season, as the rotations will be vital to keeping guys fresh. Last year, the defense was on the field so much that guys were exhausted in the middle of drives and couldn’t get off the field. Guys like, Goldwire, Dorsey, and Jackson who all contributed last season will be fighting for reps and should have good opportunities to earn playing time.
My Thoughts: To be blunt, Louisville’s defense last season was as bad as its ever been before. That isn’t a knock on the players, that is just the truth. A lot of that can be chalked up to coaching. Many players have said that they were forced to play the wrong position, the schemes last season were suspect at best, and the overall morale of the team decreased progressively as the season went on. With that being said, there is a lot of potential on the line this year. Experience is experience, and last season’s experience should make for a hungry group led by the rising seniors that will start on the defensive line. Add in the grad transfer addition of Ty Tyler and this group has the potential to make some real noise this year. Louisville will be overlooked, underestimated and ruled out before any snaps will be played and there isn’t better motivation than having the opportunity to shut down non-believers.
Will it be easy? No. But I am glad that the group leading the defensive attack is a veteran one that will lead the program into the new era of Scott Satterfield. Even if Louisville’s win total doesn’t significantly improve from last season, the competitiveness and leadership this group will display will headline the next wave of Louisville football.