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Opponent Breakdown: Virginia Cavaliers Defense

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The Cavalier defense has had a rough year facing off against some of the better offenses in the country. They have to hope that last week was a fluke for UofL.

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The Virginia defense is arguably the worst that UofL will see this year and it was a complete shock to me. This defense lost a lot from last year with two linebackers leaving early for the draft and a handful of others exhausting their eligibility. Even with those losses, they inserted a five star defensive tackle in Andrew Brown. Brought back an outstanding defensive tackle in David Dean along with Mike Moore at defensive end. They also have Trent Corney who has 6.5 tackles for loss this year. There shouldn't have been a major dropoff with the defense but here we are. The defensive line has played well and they could pose a big test for a Louisville offensive line that looked much improved last week. Louisville will have to get to the second level to really get the offense going.

Virginia had to replace their entire group of linebackers this year and Micah Kiser immediately showed that he is a future star in the ACC. Kiser leads the league in tackles as well as being in the top ten in sacks and tackles for loss. Kiser teams with Zach Bradshaw to make up a good duo against the run but Bradshaw is an absolute liability in pass coverage. Louisville has switched to a pro-style offense so we could see more of a bas 3-4 or 4-3 defense from UVA. That would put Mike Moore at linebacker as a rusher with Kwontie Moore at defensive end. That will force Bradshaw to cover a tight end or slot receiver. That's not a good spot for him to be in.

The secondary for the Cavaliers has been downright awful. They're a talented group with Marcus Canady and Demetrius Nicholson being veteran cornerbacks that have had solid careers. They also have Quin Blanding who was a freshman All-American last season. Throw in Kelvin Rainey and you have a group of players that most coaches would be happy with on paper. The performance on the field just has not been what one would expect, at all. Blanding is second in the conference in tackles and he has one of the teams two interceptions, but he's also the team's free safety and you don't really want him making that many tackles. Canady and Nicholson have combined for 8 total pass breakups. Rainey, hasn't made very many impact plays either which gives you three guys that are defensive liabilities. Wilfred Wahee, who was the fifth DB last weekend showed what he could do when Stacy Coley blew buy him for a huge touchdown in the second quarter. Why Virginia didn't go with Darious Lattimore in that role, escapes me. Louisville should be able to exploit this group with the performance of the receivers over the last few weeks.

KEY PLAYERS: DT David Dean, MLB Micah Kiser, FS Quin Blanding, DE Mike Moore