As we continue to hand out 1st Quarter grades for the University of Louisville football program, let’s take a look at the Cardinal linebackers
Louisville’s Linebacker position had some intriguing story lines coming into the season. You have the loss of your leading tackler and defensive leader in middle linebacker Dexter Heyman. Your top outside linebacker Preston Brown who was tied as the second leading tackler for Louisville is switching to the middle and assuming that new role. You have three true freshman coming in with undoubtedly enough talent to log minutes in Keith Brown, James Burgess Jr and Nick Dawson.
First Quarter Report Card: Linebackers = C
If there was a guy on the Cards roster that could fill the void of Dexter Heyman, it would be Preston Brown. Unfortunately that transition is proving to be more difficult than some of us may had expected. At this point in the 2011 season Dexter was good for 30 tackles. Only 11 thus far for Preston (5 down from last years total at this point at the OLB spot). Daniel Brown’s numbers are also down from 20 tackles three games into last season to just 11 this season.
Keith Brown and James Burgess Jr both arrived on Louisville’s campus early and had a tremendous spring camp. At one point Keith Brown was taking snaps with the first team and labeled a potential starter. Just before the opening game against Kentucky that starting nod was given to former walk-on redshirt junior George Durant. Both Keith Brown and Nick Dawson have yet to see the field and are likely to redshirt. While James Burgess Jr has played in all three games, he’s only accounted for five tackles overall on the season. You do have Deiontrez Mount and Lorenzo Mauldin splitting time at the backer position with their hybrid game as well, but it’s difficult to tell from a numbers standpoint how effective they have been. In the end of the day, the strength of the position is not where we had hoped it would be nor is it anywhere close to what we need it to be. In due time I believe it will get there, but we are just grading the first quarter and this is where we are.
* Tackle numbers are combination of assisted and un-assisted.