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The Cardinal Countdown: 60 Days Until Kickoff

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NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Music City Bowl - Texas A&M v Louisville Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

#60 Tyler Haycraft

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/293

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of St. Xavier High School)

Twitter: @tyler70haycraft

Thoughts: The story on Haycraft is one of encouragement and joy….or complete frustration. I guess it depends on which side of the table you’re on. Haycraft and his fellow Tiger Nate Scheler were both walk-ons back in 2016 and have been fighting for time the last few years while putting in their dues on the practice field. The Disney movie version of this story ends with them both getting significant PT last year, including Haycraft seeing action in eleven of the twelve games last season. A crying mother in the stands as Haycraft slides back to protect the A-Gap is what dreams are made of. I honestly applaud Tyler’s work ethic and push to make it to that spot. I have no doubt in my mind he earned that time.

The flip side of the coin of course is this…why did Louisville have multiple walk-ons playing significant reps in various roles the majority of the season? I understand I’m preaching to the choir a bit here but this is my pulpit for the time being, so hear me out. I love offensive line play, love the way they open up the passing game, love the way they create holes for the run game, love the way they shift, slide, scoot, dive, jump, jive, an’ wail all over the field. The problem is in a position group that you ask to do so much you need to have numerous talented bodies that can play at a high level. One injury or lost player can’t sidetrack you and two of them can’t derail your whole season. That’s what we’ve witnessed for years now. We’ve seen in the past month the importance the staff is putting on the position group and getting the right fit for their new system moving forward. If we’re being honest with each other this group was overlooked for a couple recruiting cycles and they need some help in 2019 and beyond. Seeing Ledford and Satt realize that almost immediately is encouraging moving forward.

As we watch this year’s squad progress I’ll be cheering for Haycraft, and I hope he does get some good reps as he closes out his career here, but I’d also like to see a few more guys step up and take on that challenge. We have the athleticism at guard to play some “dudes” up front, hopefully that happens.

Sweet Tweet:

Not many tweets from Tyler so here is a retweet that has Ledford mic’d up, including a snippet of him giving Mr. Haycraft some coaching. Please gauge you level of success for the O-line based solely upon this 57 second video below.

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Season 1, Episode 4 of “Hi, My Name is…”

Hi, My Name Is: Cort Dennison

I grew up in: Salt Lake City, Utah

I played football at: University of Washington (Linebacker)

I previously coached at: Oregon (Outside Linebackers)

I am now the: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers

I’ve been a coach for: 6 seasons at the collegiate level (4 of those @ UofL)

I am: Not married

Fun Fact: Dennison, while being a team captain at Washington, lead the entire Pac-12 in tackles as a senior in 2011 with 128. Dennison had a career high in the Alamo Bowl that season which just so happened to be Heisman Trophy winning QB Robert Griffin III last collegiate game. The same Robert Griffin III who is now a Baltimore Raven and mentoring a young QB who played on a team that Dennison coached for multiple seasons named….wait for it… Lamar Jackson.

CardinalStrong says: With truth serum injected into my veins right now I have to tell you…I was more excited about getting Cort back than any other coaching hire in the offseason, including Satterfield. Maybe I’m tooting the whistle on the hype train a bit much but I really like Cort as a coach and equally as important, a recruiter. Setting his coaching prowess aside Cort was helping bring in some solid talent for the Cards during his first stint in the Red and Black (Avery/Hicks/Abdullah/Tutu) and pulled in two four star linebackers for Oregon in his single season there. Since he returned he has either been the lead or a big piece of grabbing commitments from Zay Peterson, Henry Bryant, and JUCO LB Marvin Dallas to name a few. I fully expect Satterfield to start setting his targets on some top tier talent that fits his system after some on-field success and Cort will be the head of the arrow. In addition to the recruiting, well, I also happen to think Dennison is a heck of a coach. The linebackers have performed well under him at both of his major stops and guys like Keith Kelsey, James Burgess, Stacy Thomas, and Dorian Ethridge became household names. Last season Cort coached two All-Pac 12 players in Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins. Watch an interview, watch that “mic’d up” video again, watch his guys play….the young man has the chops to be very successful at this job and I just hope we can keep him out of a head coaching position long enough to reap the rewards of his labor.

Before I leave you all today, Happy 4th of July to everyone. Stay safe out there. If you’ve had a few too many maybe stick with the snakes and sparklers tonight. You can’t “throw up your L” with a missing thumb.