By Paul Sykes
Look it up in any dictionary, and you’ll be reminded that “secondary” is defined as somewhat subordinate in rank, order and importance.
However, the secondary may well be the key factor when the University of Louisville football team takes on Kentucky. Someone has to cover all those shifty receivers and break-away running backs. Let’s take a look at the secondaries:
Louisville — Returns Johnny Patrick at cornerback and he’s probably an All-Big East candidate but after that the experience and depth drops off significantly. Just who will line up at cornerback with Patrick is one of the more hotly contested battles this fall on the Cardinal practice fields. Bobby Burns, Preston Pace and converted running back Darius Ashley are all trying to claim the spot.
Safety is even more of a question mark. Terrance Simien, back from last year’s injuries, looks to be the leader at strong safety and Shenard Holton has been impressive at free safety. Their on field experience is slim, though. The depth here, too, is weak and the deep four for the Cardinal defense looks to be the weakest link in the chain. After Patrick, there are no proven game day starters.
Kentucky — Returns two starters from last year in the secondary with corner Randall Burden and free safety Winston Guy. They’ll miss Paul Warford (dismissed from team) and graduates Trevard Lindley and Calvin Harrison.
Tadeio Smith is the front runner for the strong safety spot and the other starting corner is anyone’s guess. Kentucky allowed 15.9 yards per pass play last year and with the three leading secondary tacklers gone…the Cats will be susceptible to even an average passing attack. Their deep four is also the weakest link in the Cats’ defense.
Advantage: Neither team. Kentucky returns more game day experienced players but Louisville’s Patrick is the best of the bunch.