Micale Cunningham sees improvement in Louisville’s Defense, Secondary

One of the most predominant talking points surrounding the Louisville Football program heading into the 2020 season is how the defense will progress in year two of the Scott Satterfield era.

On a team that went 8-5 in 2019 including a Music City Bowl win vs. Mississippi State, the offense skyrocketed to rank in the Top 30 nationally in both scoring and total offense. However the defense could only muster 102nd & 109th in total & scoring defense respectively.

They’re making positive strides though. Defensive coordinator Bryan Brown told reporters last week that the competition amongst the units he oversees has been off the charts, and there have been numerous defensive standouts in fall camp thus far.

He’s not the only one who has noticed an increase an effort and performance out of the defense. Quarterback Micale Cunningham has seen it first hand, and he believe that the defense looks radically different from fall camp last year.

“They’re very different. Those guys are very much better than last year,” Cunningham said in a teleconference with reporters Wednesday after practice. “We have a lot of guys with speed and strength up front on that D-line. They’re very smart. They pay attention to detail. I really can’t to see those guys run around this year.”

The redshirt junior from Montgomery, Ala. was especially complimentary of the secondary, and praises both the veterans and newcomers alike.

“Me and coach (Bryan) Brown were actually talking the other day, I have so much confidence in those DBs. It’s like night and day with those guys.”, he said. “(Kei’Trel Clark) came in, he’s been coming in and challenging those guys – guys like Chandler (Jones), Marlon (Character) and (Anthony Johnson). A lot of those young guys like Greedy (Vance) as well. Those guys are sticking out a lot. We got some DBs that can ball.”

In the preseason depth chart released by the university early last month, Chandler Jones & Anthony Johnson were named as the starting cornerback – with Character backing up the latter. All three started at cornerback at some point last season, with Jones having 50 tackles and a team-high 10 pass break-ups while starting all 13 games.

Clark also had success last year, albeit with a different team. Transferring from Liberty, he had a successful freshman campaign with the Flames and eventually worked his way into a starter’s role. The corner played in all 13 games, collecting 38 tackles (33 solo), 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and 6 pass break ups.

With all the change the program has undergone in recent years – especially on defense – stability on that side of the ball has been welcome.

“We have been having a lot of changes here, having the stability, the same coach, the same technique the same playbook, really helped us advance to have an advantage to play faster,” Anthony Johnson said last week.

Louisville will return to the practice fields Thursday morning at 9:30am for their ninth practice of fall camp. The Cards are set to kickoff the season against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Cardinal Stadium.

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