Louisville Secondary Adding New Talent with Experience

samdraut

A secondary with more depth and added stability seeks improvement this fall.

Louisville football allowed 234.2 passing yards per game a year ago as a large portion of its secondary returns for the 2020 season.

Safety Russ Yeast is participating in practices after a season-ending injury last November while Chandler Jones, Marlon Character and Anthony Johnson all started at cornerback last season.

Johnson has seen growth in the secondary in its second year playing under defensive coordinator Bryan Brown’s scheme.

“We have been having a lot of changes here, having the stability, the same coach, the same technique the same playbook, really helped us advance to have an advantage to play faster,” Johnson said.

Yeast’s recovery and rehab has been a welcomed return.

The senior finished fifth on the team in tackles in 2019, tallying 61 tackles in 11 games before missing Louisville’s final two games because of injury.

“He is a leader on our defense,” Johnson said. “We need him back there, his presence alone gives the defense a good camaraderie.”

Brown estimated Yeast at 90 to 95% health in the first week of fall camp.

Isaiah Hayes, who transferred from Arizona, played in place of Yeast in Louisville’s final two games last year. The safety adds experience to the secondary.

“Isaiah Hayes is making some plays,” Brown said. “He is as sharp as a tool.”

On the outside, Jones, Character and Johnson have plenty of experience, but younger players have added depth to the corner position.

Brown said sophomore Kei’Trel Clark, who transferred from Liberty has been a bright spot during fall camp. Johnson says freshmen Marqui Lowery and Greedy Vance are adding to the group as well.

The secondary’s experienced players have helped acclimate the newcomers to college football.

“We have a very bright young group, us older guys are loving up on them and teaching them the game,”

Johnson said the next step for improvement for the secondary is to eliminate big plays while making big plays too.

“We want to be the guys that go take the ball out of the air when teams take those deep shots instead of giving them up,” Johnson said.

The elimination of opponents’ big plays in the passing game starts with better communication between the safeties and corners, Johnson said. 

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