Big Hits Motivate Louisville Linebackers

By Paul Sykes

The linebackers were a nice surprise for the University of Louisville football team last season. They evolved from a unit riddled by injuries and attrition into the one area of defense where big plays developed and consistency reigned.

Back are Jon Dempsey, Brandon Heath, Dexter Heyman, Steven Garr, Chris Campa, Antwon Canady and Mozell Axson ...

With the experience returning, one has to feel that these guys could be the heroes in stopping opposing offenses. Back are Jon Dempsey, Brandon Heath, Dexter Heyman, Steven Garr, Chris Campa, Antwon Canady and Mozell Axson who all shone at one time or another last season. Four seniors, a junior and a sophomore — players who have been to war and are still standing.

The question going into fall ball is whether defensive coordinator Brent Guy will stick with the traditional 4-3 set that the Cards employed last year or switch to the Cardinal Rover concept he spoke of early in the year.  The luxury of being two or three deep at the Sam, Mike and Will slots gives the freedom to switch up personnel and confuse opposing offenses.  But it remains to be seen if the new U of L assistant can motivate the bunch like Ron English did in 2008.

Questions also remain about whether Brandon Heath can live up to the billing he brought in with him as a freshman three years ago. An injury-free Brandon Heath has the potential to be all-conference, all-world and all over the field.

As the Cards fill in and experiment at defensive line and secondary this season, it’s refreshing to know that the guys in the middle are proven, experienced and poised to be the wrecking crew. Guy’s main job could be just trying to keep them all happy and distribute the playing time equally.

Happy linebackers, not a term heard very often but let’s hope the joy comes from sacks, run stops, interceptions and pass breakups. If a bit of meanness creeps in as well, all the better.

Hit somebody!

Paul Sykes

Paul Sykes owns Paul Sykes Advertising and does contract work for other advertising and publishing firms. The proud husband of Sonja, he has a fascination with bears, bars and Cardinal sports. He's also the moderator of CardinalCouple.blogspot.com