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Opponent Breakdown: UCF Defense

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NCAA Football: Bethune Cookman at Central Florida Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville’s offense has struggled to get things going this year but they should face a different look on defense this week when UCF brings their aggressive scheme to town. The Golden Knights have played well this year on defense after struggling to slow down Boise State early in their first game. Their adjustments worked well in that game and they have stifled nearly everything since halftime of game one.

The Defensive Line for the Golden Knights has set the tone for the entire defense. Kalia Davis has been a terror at Defensive Tackle with his non-stop motor and disruptive play. He is 6-2/315 but he chases everything down sideline-to-sideline. He and Western Kentucky transfer, Ricky Barber have played very well so far.

On the edges, Markaviest Bryant has played pretty well after transferring in from Auburn. Bryant was second-team All-SEC last year but decided to follow Gus Malzhan as a grad transfer. While he and the defense as a whole don’t have a sack on the season, they have done well to pressure Quarterbacks. Bryant is a standup Defensive End in this 4-3 scheme and he has been a big factor in how they set the edge against the run. His length allows him to hold off blocks pretty well.

The Linebackers for the Knights have also been a big factor in their run defense. This defense is hyper-aggressive and they fly up to make plays against the run. Even if they don’t make the tackle, they force the back to make a move, and then others can come up to make the play. Tatum Bethune and Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste do a very good job of shooting gaps and creating havoc. What I haven’t seen from them is great coverage in the middle of the field. There could be an opportunity there for Louisville.

UCF runs a lot of man with a lot of single-high Safety looks or “Zero” coverage with no Safety help. Divaad Wilson is a Georgia transfer who has looked good so far in coverage and Quadric Bullard leads the team in tackles so far this year. With this team blitzing so much, Louisville will have to find a way to test the secondary as we see teams do with Louisville’s aggressive defense. Boise State had some success with slant routes so I would hope to see Louisville do the same.