Louisville defense preparing to attack

University of Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford stressed his units need to improve and explained that he is installing a more aggressive game plan for the 2013 season.

During their run to the conference title and eventual victory over third-ranked Florida in the Sugar Bowl, the Cardinals defense was a bit of a roller coaster ride. They would played solid for the majority of their snaps, but gave up the occasional big play and didn't create enough big plays of their own.

During the program's annual Media Day on Thursday afternoon, University of Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford stressed the need to improve in the fundamentals.

"The biggest thing that we need to bring to the table this year is we need to tackle better," he said. "We were a poor tackling football team last year, so we spend a lot of time, even right now with no pads, learning how to tackle."

"The next thing is we gave up a lot of big plays," he added. "We need to a lot better job keeping the ball inside and in front."

While the unit finished among the nation's top 25 in total defense for a third straight season, it didn't do so well in the big play categories. U of L's 11 interceptions ranked 63rd in the nation, its 13 sacks placed the team 78th and its 4.5 tackles for a loss per game average was only good enough for 100th.

Things began to change during the team's month long preparation for the Sugar Bowl. In New Orleans, the University of Louisville defense played a much more aggressive style, which was fueled by Terell Floyd's first play interception and touchdown. The goal for the 2013 squad is to continue with the aggressive approach.

"One thing that we talk about as a defensive staff and with Coach Strong is being more aggressive," Bedford explained. "Last year we kind of played to the strength of our offense and Teddy Bridgewater. This year we are going back to old school.

Bedford said that a more aggressive approach, including frequent blitzes, would become the norm for his more experienced defense.

"You drop a hat, we're going to blitz you." he continued. "I don't care where you are, we get off the bus, we don't care what happens...you hit a play, the next play we are coming at you again. That's who we have to be. That's what guys like. We want to be aggressive."

The news of a more aggressive style of play was welcomed with excitement by the players.

Middle linebacker Preston Brown has become a key leader on defense.

"We're all excited about Coach Bedford saying that he wants to blitz us," said senior linebacker Preston Brown. "We finally get to run around and have fun, so it is really exciting when your defensive coordinator says we are going to have more blitzing."

The expectation for this team is to have an attacking defense as much as possible.

"We have got to be the attacker all the time," said Bedford.

Junior defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin, who has a personal goal of reaching 26 sacks this season, added, "this year we are planning on making our mark."

The new attacking defense will debut on September 1, when Ohio visits Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. For Brown, the opening game is the opportunity to prove that Louisville is much more than on offensive power.

"I think we need to start out in the first game being physical, showing that we can be a dominating defense and showing that people need to worry about us on the defensive side as well," said Brown. "[We need to] just bring out the physical side of our defense and show other teams when they watch us on film that they have something to worry about."

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