First off, sorry about the lack of posts in the last week. Trevor and I are busy blazing the airwaves on 93.9 The Ticket on Sports Night with Jody Demling and UK fan Matt Jones. That being said, we will be bringing in a couple of new writers to help out and give a new perspective, so be expecting a good amount of updates daily on the Louisville site that tells the truth about the goings on in the Cardinal Nation.
As for the game on Sunday, I am getting more and more confident as it gets closer. We are better than is being portrayed and the Mildcats are worse. I understand that we are very inexperienced at LB, but would you rather replace players that didn't get the job done or bring them back like UK is doing? The Cats' "great" defense gave up just as many points and yards as the Cards' "god-awful" defense. New coordinator Ron English has the defense whipped into shape and unlike last year, the players will be lined up right and if they screw up they will hear about it.
The LB corps was hampered by the loss of senior Mozell Axson, who tore a MCL in a non-contact drill in practice last week and was our leading returning tackler. The Cards' starters have played a combined ZERO games in college, but with how our experienced LBs played last year that might not be such a bad thing. I have heard nothing but good things about Louisville Male true freshman Dexter Heyman, one being that he could join Amobi Okoye and Elvis Dumervil as one of the best defenders in the last 20 years at Louisville. Jon Dempsey and Antwan Canady are less known but impressed English and Kragthorpe enough to be given the start. As long as the mistakes don't pile up exponentially, these young guns will be fine.
Our DBs will be much improved this year (can't get much worse). Lattarious Thomas returns at safety with his 10+ career INTs and surgically repaired knee. Thomas will join the underrated Richard Raglin and Bobby Buchanan in the defensive backfield. As with the LBs, the DBs will at least line up correctly this year, which will help mask some of their inabilities. It is time for Woodny Turenne to put up or find a nice clean spot on the bench. English won't let him get away with that this year without punishing his playing time. It is definitely time for the former 5-star JUCO All-American to show us what the recruiting experts saw from him. Sophomore Johnny Patrick played solid at the end of last year and has been great in practice by all accounts. They will be joined in nickel situations by the hard-hitting Travis Norton and Marcus Folmar. This group will be better than the pundits and last year would suggest. All played a significant amount of time last year and have seen their weaknesses revealed. This experience combined with the addition of Ron English is the reason why thios group is vastly underrated. We all know what happened the first few weeks last year with a relatively new bunch and it will do nothing but help these guys improve this year.
Check out our Defensive Line Preview here. It will be imperitive for Earl Heyman and co. to make some stops and take the pressure off of the newcomer LBs. UKs RBs could just destroy us if they break that intial wall as much as they'd like. The defense as a whole needs to play with a chip on their shoulder, like their pride is at stake.
This defense is better than everyone thinks. From the coaches to the attitude. Don't be surprised if we actually stop somebody this year. However, as I said it can't get much worse.