Preston Brown leads Cardinal defense

University of Louisville senior linebacker Preston Brown, who led the Cardinals with 109 tackles in 2012, is excelling in his new leadership role.

University of Louisville linebacker Preston Brown became a key figure in the Cardinals defense when he made 11 starts as a sophomore in 2011. The product of Cincinnati Northwest High School has developed into a difference-maker and now as a senior is being leaned on for leadership.

It's a role that he quickly grasped when spring practice began on March 20.

"I feel like I can do that," said Brown. "I talk to everybody and make sure they are lined up in the proper spots and motivate guys. I feel like I can do that now."

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Bedford likes the leadership that the All-Big East linebacker has displayed during spring camp.

"He ran around and made plays," said Bedford. "He got guys lined up and that's what a senior should do. He's taking the leadership role like a senior should take."

Junior safety Calvin Pryor agreed.

"Preston Brown is really standing out as the leader for the defense and everybody just kind of falls in behind him," said Pryor. "At the same time, it's kind of a group effort. We are all on the same page on defense."

Working with the first team, Brown keeps his eye on the alignments and situation settings. He also helps in assisting those behind him on the depth chart and while he says the need for improvement is there, it is occuring.

"Learning more situational downs, so they know what's going at them, but they are really stepping up a lot this spring," said Brown of the reserve linebackers. "You can see a lot of maturing going on."

As a junior, Brown topped the defense with 109 tackles. His improvement was visible, as he finished 2012 with double-digit efforts in six of the last seven games, including 13 stops in the 33-23 win over Florida in the All-State Sugar Bowl, which was the team high.

While plenty of experience returns in the linebacker corp, Brown expects better things from the unit in 2013.

"We've gotten a lot better during spring so far, but we have a lot of work that we can do," he explained. "We can get a lot better."

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