Holliman ready to 'fill some big shoes'

One of the biggest holes for the University of Louisville football program to fill this coming season is at safety. Junior Gerod Holliman will get a chance to step into the safety spot and talks about how things are going early on in spring practice at the position.

The University of Louisville football team not only has a new defensive scheme, but the Cardinals must replace several key players.

And at the top of that list is safeties Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor.

Smith was a four-year performer and started more games than anyone else in the history of the program, while Pryor left after his junior season and is projected as a first-round draft pick.

"Those two guys were good players and that will be two tough spots to replace," new U of L coach Bobby Petrino said.

But one guy trying to help fill the void is Gerod Holliman. The junior played in 11 games last season and is one of the candidates to start at strong safety this coming season.

"I have big shoes to fill," Holliman said. "I'm coming a long good but I still have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of checks depending on formations and things like that, so there's still a lot of room to improve.

"The new defense is tough but it's good."

Holliman, who committed to U of L during the U.S. Army All-American game during his senior season at Miami Southridge, played in three games as a true freshman before suffering a shoulder injury. He missed the rest of the season.

After a solid spring and fall, Holliman started two games and played in 11 last season. He finished with 16 tackles and three pass break ups. He had five solo tackles against Memphis and had 13 of his 16 tackles as solos.

Holliman said learning from guys like Smith and Pryor was "huge" in his development.

"It was great being around them," he said. "They showed me a lot of things, knowing formations and tendancies and things like that. It was just good to see what they did and how they did certain things."

While the team has only been through six spring practices - including one scrimmage - Holliman said he thinks there's a lot to be happy with and knows there's "room for improvement."

"As a group, there's some communication issues," he said. "But we are working on that and everything is going a lot smoother."

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