Continuity creates consistency for Louisville defense


Continuity equals consistency according to Cort Dennison.

The co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach for Louisville football has seen first-hand the effect of scheme changes on players.

Dennison spent four seasons at Louisville from 2014 to 2017, working under former defensive coordinators Todd Grantham and Peter Sirmon.

After spending a season at Oregon as the outside linebackers coach, Dennison returned to Louisville to join Scott Satterfield’s coaching staff.

Heading into Bryan Brown’s second season as the team’s defensive coordinator, Dennison says the players have a better understanding of the defense.

He said the nation’s best defenses are good because the scheme remains consistent each year.

“When you are changing coordinators every year, you are never going to get comfortable with what you are doing because you are always learning something new,” Dennison said.

Louisville’s defense can play faster and be more reactive as understanding improves. Dennison said having the same scheme for two consecutive years will pay dividends.

“The more continuity you get, the guys around one another are making the checks,” Dennison said. “They are comfortable with one another. They aren’t looking around wondering what if. The main thing you can do is play fast.”

The Cardinals return six of their top seven tacklers from a year ago including linebackers C.J. Avery, Rodjay Burns and Dorian Etheridge.

Although the spring session of practices was cut short due to COVID-19, Dennison believes the defense has taken steps forward during the quarantine.

Players and coaches have held virtual meetings on Zoom to expand knowledge of the scheme and the playbook.

“One of the main ways has been mentally since we haven’t been able to do things on the field, we have been able to meet and do things off the field,” Dennison said. “Anytime you can get in the meeting room and expand your knowledge of the game with the players, the playbook, you’re improving, you’re gaining ground on things.”

Dennison said players are getting more comfortable with the scheme.