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The Cardinal Countdown: 95 Days Until Kickoff

NCAA Football: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

#95 Kyle Shortridge

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-2/278

Position: Defensive Line

Hometown: Loxahatchee, FL

Twitter: @KyleShortridge

Thoughts: Shortridge may not have been a headline mainstay on defense the last couple of years but his consistency and athleticism is part of what it takes to build a championship caliber team. Kyle has appeared in every game for the Cards the last two seasons, and that isn’t the easiest thing to do considering he’s a big body asked to be aggressive in the trenches every single week. Kyle finished last season with 14 tackles, doubling his production from 2015, but Shortridge isn’t really asked to big a big tackler up front (as a reference, DeAngelo Brown, an absolute beast in the middle last year, just squeaked into the Top 10 leading tacklers for the Cards in 2016). Maybe one day I’ll go off on my “tackles aren’t really a great performance measurement statistic” rant….but not today. We still got 95 days of this folks!

As we’ve seen the last two years Kyle has a unique ability to not only fill space up front but also use all 270lb+ to get pressure. Most look at Kyle and/or Richardson to fill the DeAngelo Brown vacancy in 2017, but just like the task of trying to replace Rankins last season, I believe a group effort will be required. Feel free to go back and read my post on Brown the last two years to get a brief summary of my thoughts on just how important the NT position is in building a solid defense. Cards have been blessed with some athletic freaks on the line the last few years and Kyle will need to step things up a notch to try and replicate the production we’ve seen there the last 6 or 7 seasons.

One advantage that Shortridge unfortunately cannot maximize is his starting spot on my “No Helmet Squad”. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this group, I’ve selected 5-10 players each year who most (myself absolutely included) would likely try and avoid on the field if everyone were to play the game without helmets. Take a quick peek at that Glamour Shot above again and then imagine all six feet two inches and nearly three bills resting below that mug. You running the ball at him? Not a chance. I’ll try and remember to highlight the other starters as I reach them in the countdown but you could probably pick them out as well. Expect to see guys like Lukayus McNeil, Amonte Caban, and of course Blanton Creque. Don’t let that sly smile fool you…kid will murder your soul with one sweep of the leg.

Sweet Tweet:

My man is fired up. You know what gets me fired up….? Not much actually, I’m usually pretty even keeled, but there are some things on a very petty level that go straight through to my core…

The “don’t talk to me until I’ve had three cups of coffee” people. I get it, you’re tired, you need to wake up, but if I’m hitting you with a simple request at 10am and I still get a ‘Walking Dead’ face in response, you need to get your life worked out, asap. I got two kids under 5, miss me with the “I had a long night” speech bud.

The “I’m gonna sit and wait for this spot” drivers, especially in a half empty parking lot when the people leaving haven’t even reached their car yet. You know we got a solid 2-3 minutes before they throw that thing in reverse and you’re setting up camp in the middle of the damn row with s’mores and kumbaya’s not allowing me to get through. Get. Out. Da. Damn. Way.

The “takes everything way to serious” folks on twitter. It’s a medium more or less built to share information…and then immediately make fun of it. Internet always wins. Relax a little…laugh a little…life is so much better that way. And while you’re scrolling, relaxing, and laughing why not smash that follow button for your ole’ pal @CardinalStrong ? Prefer not to, that’s okay too, but remember the “No Helmet Squad” has my back…who has yours?