Mike Gillhamer talks about the defense

Following Saturday's practice I visited with the Cardinals defensive coordinator for a few minutes to discuss the early progress of the Cardinals defense.

Mike Gillhamer came to Louisville after serving two years at the University of Oregon as their secondary coach. His previous experience includes stints at Utah, Rutgers, Nevada, San Jose State and the NFL's New York Giants.

As the Cardinals defensive coordinator, Gillhamer has inherited a unit that has quite a bit of talent at all positions, but lacks experience in many spots.

Following Saturday's practice I visited with the coach for a few minutes to discuss the early progress of the Cardinals defense.

ITV: What's your impression of the defense so far?

Coach Gillhamer: We got a long ways to go. It's a new defense, new coaches and our offense is really good at attacking and spreading it out, so we are just continuing to do our thing and trying to build a real good group. Then we can expand further into it. I think the kids are buying into. We had a little success today, so we feel good about that. We're a long ways still. I wish we had 30 days of spring practice.

ITV: Everyone really seems to be flying around on the field.

Coach Gillhamer: That's what we are trying to do. We got to have fun. What's happening right now is that we are all thinking so much and that takes all the athleticism out of you. We just have to keep getting more reps and keep going forward.

ITV: It's not just the players flying around. I've noticed that you as coaches do quite of bit of running right along side of them.

Coach Gillhamer: We're the leaders and if they see you excited and see you running and going after it, then they pick up on that too.

ITV: How has the grading process been going so far?

Coach Gillhamer: I think we got a chance, but there's a lot of things we need to improve on. We haven't really seen anybody step up yet and do something that made us say 'wow.' We're still waiting for some guys to start doing that.

ITV: Let me ask you your impression of each of the units thus far. What do you like about the defensive line?

Coach Gillhamer: Right now we have to find some leaders to come out of that group. I don't know if we've found that yet. They are still trying to figure out the system a little bit, so they're not being as agressive as we'd like, but I think we really have chance there.

ITV: How about the linebackers?

Coach Gillhamer: The linebackers right now, well kind of have them frozen because we have thrown so much at them right now. Because of what they are seeing in practice, with a lot of different formations and a lot of other things has them all thinking right now. Hopefully by the end of spring they won't need to be doing so much thinking about it all and can be more athletic.

ITV: And, what are your thoughts about the secondary?

Coach Gillhamer: I've been real happy with Brent Johnson. I think that he's really come on and has taken the leadership role. I think Josh Minkins has really bought into what we want him to do. Laroni Gallishaw has been trying, but he's not there yet and the same with a some others.

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