The University of Louisville defense bounced back last weekend at South Florida after a disappointing performance against Central Florida, holding the Bulls to just 133 total yards in a 34-3 victory in Tampa, Fla.
U of L defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said the defensive had their heads down for a few days after the UCF loss but "didn't let it beat us twice."
The Cardinals held South Florida to just 38 yards rushing.
"To see those guys get out there flying around, hitting people they were getting back to having fun," Bedford said. "That is very exciting to see as a coach."
The Cardinals rank No. 2 in scoring defense and total defense and have been getting a lot of love nationally on that side of the ball. But one group that flies a bit under the radar is the cornerbacks, who have played exceptionally well this season.
"That's great how you want your defense to be," cornerback Jermaine Reve said. "Throughout the year our defensive line and linebackers have been making a lot of plays and that sometimes leads to the secondary going unnoticed."
The Cardinals are giving up 164 yards a game through the air and only 6.3 yards per catch, which is a big improvement from previous seasons.
"They improved throughout camp and now throughout the season they are getting better each and every week," defensive backs coach Tommy Restivo said. "We expect a lot from them. We know that the next couple of opponents like to throw the football, so we need to continue to get better in practice each and every day."
Restivo and Bedford said the corners can play with a little more ease knowing the defense has two of the best safeties in the country – Calvin Pryor and Hakeem Smith. Pryor has three interceptions this season, while Smith has two picks.
"It's a big plus because they talk and communicate, which is a big help," Restivo said. "They relay the calls, they relay the splits of the receivers, so it is a big plus having guys that have played over 40 something games combined.
"That's a huge plus for the secondary to have veterans back there."
The U of L coaching staff is excited about the depth that has been developed at this position over time, including some of the young guys. Reve, Charles Gaines, Andrew Johnson and Terrell Floyd have been the main guys at that position.
"It's coming along," Restivo said. "You have to go through your tough battles every once and awhile. Their young guys and they don't know. They are learning each and every day. We are exciting about the young guys on our team."
For the secondary to continue their success throughout the remainder of the season, the players said they need to continue to challenge each other to get better.
"Tackling, and when the ball is in the air I want them to have the attitude that the ball is our ball and when they get that mindset I'll be ready to say I'm excited," Bedford said.