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Bryan Brown, Louisville Defense Learning from Mistakes Against Virginia

After a brutal fourth quarter performance against Virginia, Cardinals defensive coordinator Bryan Brown and his unit spent the bye week making sure it does not happen again.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As many know by now, the defensive side of the ball for the Louisville football program did not have an especially great outing against Virginia, especially late in the game.

The Cardinals entered the fourth quarter with a 30-13 advantage over the Cavaliers, with every ounce of momentum solely in Louisville's favor. In the final 15 minutes of game time, the defense proceeded to surrender 21 points, 206 yards and 10 first downs - resulting in an excruciating 34-33 loss.

With a late game collapse of that magnitude, it's hard for the blame to fall squarely on one person's shoulders. But, many were quick to single out defensive coordinator Bryan Brown as the one the bear the majority of it. 

The reason being was because of the play calling on that side of the ball during the fourth quarter. Louisville brought a fair amount of pressure against UVA quarterback Brennan Armstrong throughout the first three quarters, only for Brown to opt for the more conservative three-man rush in the fourth - particularly on the final drive of the game.

In hindsight, it's a decision he wishes he had not made. Like head coach Scott Satterfield mentioned earlier this week, Brown believes he should have been a bit more aggressive in his late game approach.

"I wish I brought a little more pressure, especially on that last drive. We brought some pressure throughout the fourth quarter, but that last drive is what (Satterfield) was mainly talking about," he said. "Especially when the guys are backed up a little bit, and not just playing coverage."

Brown attributes part of the three-man rush's failure to how fast Virginia was getting the ball out of Brennan Armstrong's hands. He also noticed that during some offensive sets where the tight end was in, Louisville's defensive linemen would chip them, thus making it longer to get after Armstrong. It was in these situations specifically where Brown believes he should have done a better job of scheming against the Cavaliers and dialup more pressure.

"You got to close games out, and that's one thing we didn't do," he said. "Whether it was from a player standpoint, and my standpoint as well on the last drive. The fourth quarter in general, we got to finish games, and I have to do a better job of making sure that our guys are prepared in every single situation."

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Soon after the game ended, Brown didn't waste much time trying to move on. He went back and dissected the film on both the Sunday and Monday after the UVA game heading into the bye week, then had the players back at practice for the next three days.

During that time on the practice fields - although it was spent mainly with the younger players and reserves to rest up the older guys and starters - Brown was determined to try and correct not only his own mistakes, but make sure his players did not continue to make their own.

"My dad always tells me, 'you're only as good as the last one'," he said. "But you have to learn from mistakes. Because if you don't learn from mistakes, it's just a mistake."

Brown says he won't completely do away with the three-man rush considering it still has situational value, and it was at time effective in their games against Florida State and UCF. But moving forward, not only are they making a concerted effort to close out games, but play a more complete game in general.

"We got to do a good job of not letting it get to the end, where it's a close game," he said. "To where if we make some plays throughout the first half, even in the second half and fourth quarter, we're not even talking about us losing that game right now."

(Photo of Jack Fagot: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)

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