For the final installment of the Defensive Position Advantage series we have saved likely the most competitive for last. The D-Lines for Louisville and Kentucky could be strongest positions for the respective programs. Both return plenty of experience with last seasons starters. The edge will go to the unit that possesses the most experience and depth. Here are both teams depth charts. Note: Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter runs a 3-4 defense.
The Kentucky Wildcats have three guys locked into their starting positions in Nose Tackle Mister Cobble and Defensive Ends Collins Ukwu and Dante Rumph. With two juniors and a senior you have a good mix of experience and leadership here. The problem with Kentucky’s D-Line isn’t with the starting unit, it’s with the rest of the depth chart. On the two-deep depth chart you have sophomore Mike Douglas that got some experience last season playing in nine games but the other two in redshirt freshman Farrington Huhuienin and junior Tristian Johnson have virtually no real recent experience. Johnson did play in seven games two years ago, but sat out last year with a shoulder injury.This day and age you have got to have at rotation where there just isn’t much off fall from the starting unit to the second unit. This is hands down the best position for Kentucky, but unfortunately for the Wildcats they have a sizable drop-off once you get past the first group of guys and that frankly won’t get it done.
Louisville has an interesting depth chart. If you look at it at face value you may see a good amount of youth and that could be concerning. You have three sophomores and two true freshman in the two deep rotation and another sophomore listed as 3rd nose tackle that with see plenty of time on the field. Problem with that is, all of these sophomores have seen plenty of playing time and are experienced enough to go to work on the field. The freshman have had strong enough spring and fall camps to land where they have. These guys have battled and done their diligence to deserve the spot that they are in. Not only are these young guys stocked full of talent, but they beat out experienced guys that logged significant minutes for Louisville last season. Much like Kentucky, the Cards strength is in their staring unit. These guys were all part of the nucleus that helped Louisville finish 2nd in the Big East in both Scoring Defense and Total Defense for the 2011 season and they haven’t lost much. The Cards haven’t lost much and will continue right where they left off last season.