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Louisville Football Position Preview: Defensive Line

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Louisville needed to make the most of the transfer and JUCO market to rebuild their defensive front. It looks like they did a good job with that.

Louisville v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Louisville’s defense will be lead by their third coordinator in three seasons but this year will be the first year that the base scheme will change. Todd Grantham and Peter Sirmon both utilized three down linemen in their base looks while using a stand up linebacker as a hybrid “rush end”. Brian VanGorder was brought in this year and he likes to play a base 4-3 that will change what they do up front in 2018.

Louisville has played with a nose tackle since Charlie Strong was hired and now they will play with two “3 technique” defensive tackles. That actually fits the personnel better for this upcoming season. Louisville will likely start JUCO transfer Mike Boykin and G.G. Robinson with JUCO transfer Jared Goldwire and Henry Famurewa in the rotation. In reality, all four of those guys will play a big role in the defense.

The tackle spot was a huge question mark going into last year’s recruiting cycle as they only had two guys that were coming back. Louisville did a good job addressing the spot with Boykin and Goldwire. Boykin originally committed to Louisville out of high school but didn’t qualify. He spent two years gaining good weight and he should be a very good pass rusher for the Cards. Goldwire is a similar type of player as he is more disruptive than he is a space eater. The group as a whole could be a strong point on the defense as opposed to being a weak point like it looked to be before last season.

The defensive end and rush end spots for Louisville have been very strong for a good while now but Louisville lost two of their top guys in James Hearns and Trevon Young. Jonathan Greenard does return and he will be the best player on Louisville’s defense this year. Greenard wasn’t a full time starter last year but he was so versatile that he could play three different spots last season. In the new scheme he will likely be used inside at tackle at times in passing situations.

UofL will line up a similar player to Greenard at the other ends spot in Tabarius Peterson. Peterson literally looks the same as Greenard in pads and both showed up to Louisville looking like ready made players. Peterson hasn’t seen the field all too much since he arrived but he has flashed good potential when he’s been out there. Peterson will have to show that he can hold his ground against the run, but if he can do that I think that he could have a breakout year as an all around player at end and as a stand up pass rusher when called upon to do so.

Amonte Caban has been mentioned as a guy who has looked good during camp. Caban is a converted middle linebacker and he’s been with the program for a while now. I don’t think that he will have the pass rushing abilities that some others do but he is more stout and that is what Brian VanGorder seemed to like during his time at Notre Dame. I’m also interested to see what BVG does with Boosie Whitlow. He’s been rumored to be playing both end and outside linebacker, but I think he would be a very good fit opposite Greenard.

Other guys that we should see in the rotation are Jarrett Jackson and Gary McRae at end and Allen Love at tackle. All three of those guys could go from being seldom used to being second teamers. I think the line is pretty fluid because of the versatility of Greenard and Peterson. VanGorder has a lot of good options and his time at Notre Dame shows that he’s not afraid of using them.