The opening of the Scott Satterfield era is less than two weeks away, and the University of Louisville football team is anxiously waiting the 2019 season opener versus Notre Dame.
With the first game just 12 days away, the Cardinals have used the first three weeks of camp to just focus on themselves and learn the schemes, especially of first-year defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, who has brought a different mindset to the defense, which is looking for a new identity.
“Everything has been going great,” senior outside linebacker Boosie Whitlow said. “The intensity has been up with Coach Bryan Brown. We have to run to the ball and I think its bringing a different atmosphere to our defense.”
Inside linebackers coach Dale Jones, who worked with Brown last season, has also been pleased with how fast the team has bought into the new schemes, are asking questions, and have been willing to fast forward the learning curve.
“I think our guys did a great job of going from spring ball, practicing themselves to understanding our schemes,” Jones said. “It was a big transition, especially in the run defense. I think they have made remarkable improvements.”
The Cardinals are now on their third defensive coordinator over the last three seasons, and it’s definitely had an impact, but the Whitlow has been grateful that the staff is willing to communicate with the players to ease the tension of learning another defense.
“I think now that we are simplifying the playbook, which has given everyone a chance to know the defense,” Whitlow continued. “It took a while to get used to the defense, but the coaches have kept open the lines of communication to help us learn the defense.”
Bothered by injuries last season, Whitlow is working at the outside linebacker position, and is anxious for his chance to finally get out on the field.
“I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to make the team great,” Whitlow said. “I’ve taken a leadership role and just trying to be there for the guys, but I just want to get out there and help my team win games.”
One of the guys who has drawn praise from his coaches and teammates has been sophomore linebacker Monty Montgomery, who joined the Cardinals after playing at Hutchinson Community College.
The Jayhawk Defensive Player of the Year has been one of the pleasant acquisitions of the Satterfield era. He totaled 82 tackles last season and contributed 18 tackles for loss, which certainly raised the eyes of the Louisville staff.
“They are an honest staff,” Montgomery said. “They are straight forward and they tell you like it is. I like the way everything feels here. It’s been a great transition for me.”
In Brown’s defense, the linebackers are a key component in the scheme, and Montgomery’s talent is something that can change the fortune of the Louisville defense.
“I just want to come in and make plays,” Montgomery said. “I feel like I’m running fast to the ball and just trying to make this defense a lot better. I like the role I am in right now and I’m just trying to continue to learn the play book.”