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Louisville Football Position Preview: Defensive Line

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 05 Georgia Tech at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Louisville’s defense will be moving to back to a 3-4 this year after running a four-man front last season. The personnel is typically a big issue with these types of transitions but Louisville will be running a scheme that will rely on speed more than size. That could actually lead to this group being one of the better position groups on the team.

Mark Ivey will be leading a group of linemen that have shown the ability to play with a high motor and that is needed in this defense. The line will look to beat offensive linemen with speed and quickness and having smaller guys should lead to success. Louisville will also be led by veteran players who are much more likely to buy in to the new scheme than younger guys.

The leader of this group has been Amonte Caban all offseason. Coaches and players have mentioned Caban as a guy who should not only do well in the new defense but has also been a guy that can be looked up to by others. Caban made a handful of very impressive plays last year where he showed great burst off the line as well as really good pursuit. His weakness is his lack of pass rushing moves as he is a converted middle linebacker but that shouldn’t be a big issue in this defense.

The middle of the line will be manned by G.G. Robinson who is still trying to fully reach the expectations set for him. Robinson has slimmed down slightly but he is still listed near 300 pounds on the roster. I’d expect him to play at a lower weight and that should help his quickness off the ball. Myquan Stout was a first team all conference selection for App State last year even though he only had 1.5 tackles for loss. Everyone in that league knew how important he was to the defense because of the havoc he created. Robinson needs to have that mentality and he will get the recognition.

Louisville’s most veteran group will be the defensive line with Tabarius Peterson rounding out the starters. Peterson has played all over the place since he’s been here but he hasn’t been able to get consistent snaps. Peterson is probably the most athletic player up front but he also has enough size that he can hold his own against guards and tackles. I’m really intrigued by him because he should be able to use that athleticism to really excel in the new scheme. As I pointed out before, getting off the ball quickly and beating linemen to the spot will be key. Peterson has that type of ability.

The rotation up front will be important as Bryan Brown will play a lot of guys to keep them fresh. One key addition to the roster is Ty Tyler who will likely play all three positions on the line in some capacity. Tyler is a grad transfer from Marshall who put up more sacks last year by himself than Louisville did as a team. Louisville desperately needed a proven pass rusher after losing Jonathan Greenard to Florida. Tyler is that guy and could find himself on the field a lot this year.

Jared Goldwire will be the backup in the middle and he’s another guy that I’m very intrigued by. Goldwire’s JUCO film is full of plays where he explodes off the ball and creates issues for blockers. He didn’t really fit the defense last year because no one fit it up front. He does seem to fit this scheme very well as long as he buys in like Robinson needs to. As good as Stout was for App State last year, he also had a bunch of studs playing around him. Louisville has talent but they’re not as complete as App was last year. Robinson and Goldwire will likely have more opportunities to put up stats.

The rest of the group is full of guys that we still have a lot to learn about. Jarrett Jackson was a very sought after recruit in high school and he saw the field last season. Malik Clark was listed as the backup to Peterson in the depth chart released this summer. Derek Dorsey is also a guy that could see the field in the rotation. The depth isn’t as proven as you want it to be here but they do have a couple of guys who have been on the field and Ty Tyler adds a veteran presence with a specific skill set.