Russ Yeast eased back into reps for Louisville secondary

Senior safety recovering and rehab from knee surgeries after season-ending injury in 2019

Russ Yeast might be back to 100 percent, but Louisville football safeties coach ShaDon Brown isn’t going to rush the senior back prematurely.

Yeast, who had 61 tackles last year, suffered a season-ending knee injury against Syracuse last November. He missed Louisville’s final two games of 2019 as he began rehab on his knee following multiple surgeries.

“I think he is at 100%, he has made some plays out there that shows you he is 100 percent,” Brown said. “I’m not 100 percent ready to make him 100 percent.”

Although Yeast has wanted more snaps in practice in preparation for the 2020 season, Brown has been cautious. Yeast wasn’t able to participate in spring practices, but has returned this fall.

Brown estimated Yeast takes part in 25 to 30 percent of reps in practices some days, while adding more on others.

“I truly believe you want to get your thoroughbreds to the Derby,” Brown said. “He is one of the thoroughbreds. I’m going to make sure I get him to the starting gate on Sept. 12 without any hiccups.”

Yeast showed a glimpse of his old self a week ago according to Brown.

“He broke on a ball and made a great play in practice,” Brown said. “I could see that explosiveness come back.”

The offseason wasn’t easy for Yeast.

He remained on campus to receive treatment and rehab while the University closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Danville, Kentucky native was a standout in Louisville’s secondary last season.

He had a season-high 11 tackles in Louisville’s victory against Boston College and had an interception against Clemson. Yeast was Louisville’s fifth leading tackler despite missing the final two games of the year.

In his final year of college football, Yeast is eager to return to the field.

“He is a really competitive player, he wants to be out there for every snap, but also know that we have to be careful to bring him along to get him ready for our first game,” Brown said. “He has come back really strong.”