Pressure On Opposing QB’s Would Be A Plus

By Paul Sykes

A third of the 12 defensive linemen on the University of Louisville football roster will be playing in their first collegiate game when the Cardinals kick off against Indiana State. Depth was a major issue last season but there appear to be plenty of bodies as a new season dawns. U of L is currently three deep at each slot,  but it’s anybody’s guess how effective the unit will be in slowing down the opposition.

If determination counts, the defensive line will manage to get an occasional hand on opposing quarterbacks this season.

Among returning players, Greg Scruggs has bulked up considerably and looks like an absolutely physical beast, anchoring one end of the Cards’ line. Senior Rodney Gnat will get the probable nod on the other side.  William Savoy and L.D. Scott are veteran backups. If determination counts, the defensive line will manage to get an occasional hand on opposing quarterbacks this year.

Defensive tackle could be a wide open. Joe Townsend, a junior college  transfer from San Jose, CA. is listed as a starter. Veteran L.T. Walker gets the early nod at the other interior line position. Tyler Jessen is listed as backup at both spots and three other Cardinals will contend for the reserve roles.

Walker was an effective run stopper so most opponents, excluding WVU, just avoided him and threw the ball.  Both Drew Davis and Dominic Lagone come off red-shirt years to contend for backup positions. None of these guys look like Joe Johnson or Ted Washington yet, but at this point fans must settle for four guys who can create the occasional negative yardage.

A good pass rush forgives a lot of sins. Quarterbacks had plenty of time in 2008 to sit in the pocket and find the ideal receiver. The front four will need to turn up the pressure and finish the season strong. Steve Kragthorpe’s team allowed only one 400-yard-plus effort by an opponent (Memphis) in the first nine games. Unfortunately, the final three foes of the year easily topped that mark.

With experience returning at linebacker and defensive secondary, a steady and productive front four could get the ball back for the offense a little quicker and more often.

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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

4 thoughts on “Pressure On Opposing QB’s Would Be A Plus

  • July 21, 2009 at 9:52 am
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    I must say with each position analysis you do, I get mixed emotions, on one hand it sounds positive, but on the other I remember who is heading this team and realize nothing has improved since he has been here. Lets look at it in each phase of the game. Passing, definitely worse than what he inherited. Rushing, although solid at times, still down from the Petrino days. Defensive run stopping, real good at times last year, but the real good backs and teams abused us, UConn, Pitt, WVU… Defensive Pass stopping, well, this wasn’t even close, especially if you look at the end of the year. Special teams, Kicking on both sides was/is horrendous, and the return game overall was pathetic. How many times can Doug Beaumont fumble in one game?

    My biggest issue with kragthorpe is he is supposed to be this offensive guru, and all I have seen is way to many turnovers, and a conservative, boring approach. Last year, with Cantwell’s cannon, it would have been nice to see more shots down field. The one sure fire run play is that full back fake pitch to Victor, nice, but how many times can you run that same play?

  • July 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm
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    Card Fan, I understand your frustration and mixed feelings. It’s obvious we have some very good talent on this team this year but the big question is how will it measure up and will it show up against our opponents?

    Will out current coach utilize it properly and will the players respond to him and his coaches teachings?

    I, too, liked it better when we were good and going to bowl games. I hope that we can get there soon again.

  • July 22, 2009 at 10:05 pm
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    Is the pass rush important? Well, Bobby Layne was an all Pro QB in the late 50’s and early 60’s when the Lions actually were a good team. He summed up the passing game in one short sentence: “Even God needs three seconds to complete a pass.” ‘Nuff said.

  • July 23, 2009 at 6:13 am
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    The obvious is that a good pass rush helps out the secondary trying to cover the potential receivers. A hurried QB can make mistakes. Taking it one step further, a pass rush that causes opposing quarterbacks problems can also take the opponent out of a game plan, or at least alter it.

    Big East opponents will no doubt review the difficulties we had last year defensding the pass and probably stress throwing the ball against us. It’s important early on in the season for us to knock a few QB’s down and tally a few sacks to show this isn’t the 2008 defense that teams romped up on, especially at the end of the year.

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