Freedom key for Louisville defense

The University of Louisville defense ranks among the nation's best and giving the players some freedom on the field has been a key component to their success.

Following a season that saw the University of Louisville rank among the nation's leaders, there were some concerns about the unit would perform in 2014.

A number of factors were at play. Bobby Petrino, an offensive-minded head coach, was back at the helm, multiple Cardinal defenders had their name called during the NFL Draft and new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was installing a new scheme.

Senior Terell Floyd, the recently converted safety that most remember for his pick-6 against the Florida Gators in the 2012 Sugar Bowl, thinks there is plenty of room for improvement, but generally isn’t surprised by the play of the secondary.

“I’m not surprised at all with how we are playing,” says Floyd. “I expected this because we have a lot of talented guys in the secondary.”

One player that has stood out through 4 games is safety Gerod Holliman, who earnec ACC defensive back of the week after recording 2 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown against FIU. Holliman now leads the nation with 5 interceptions on the season.

“He’s a ball hawk,” Floyd said. “He finds a way to get to the ball. It’s very exciting to see your teammate play at that type of level.”

Floyd credits the coaching staff and the new defensive scheme for allowing them to get so many turnovers. Todd Grantham the defensive coordinator likes to give his players the choice to break on the ball if they think they can make a big play.

“My coaching philosophy has always been able to try and give guys the freedom to make plays within the framework of the defense,” Grantham explained, “(The players) understand the boundaries, and as long as guys continue to make good choices then you continue with those guidelines.”

This week the Cardinals take on Wake Forest, another team that features a young quarterback and with the success Holliman has enjoyed, Floyd expects teams to not throw in his direction giving the rest of the secondary more opportunities to make plays.

“That opens the door for a lot of other guys in the secondary to make some plays,” said Floyd. “So, we’re hoping they try and do that.”

Kickoff between Louisville – Wake Forest is set for 3:30 p.m., at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

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