Louisville assistant coach Cort Dennison - a standout linebacker at Washington - feels 'at home' coaching the Cardinals' inside linebackers

Louisville assistant coach Cort Dennison - a standout linebacker at Washington - feels 'at home' coaching the Cardinals' inside linebackers. Dennison was the U of L co-secondary coach last season.

Cort Dennison was a linebacker in college - and a good one.

The second-year assistant coach for the University of Louisville football team played all three linebacker positions during his career at Washington and earned second-team All-Pac 12 honors his senior season.

But when Bobby Petrino had a spot open on his staff last season, Dennison was asked to coach the secondary. He was the co-secondary coach with Keith Heyward for the 2016 season.

"I learned a lot," Dennison said. "I told (Petrino), I'll coach whatever he needed me to coach."

Now, with Peter Sirmon hired as the new defensive coordinator Dennison has switched to coaching the inside linebackers. Sirmon said last week he felt like it was a "perfect fit" for Dennison, who had a league-high 128 tackles as a senior in 2011.

"It's natural for me," Dennison said. "Like I said, I leanred a lot last year coaching safeties but I played linebacker and it's just natural.

"It feels right. As soon as (Sirmon) got here he asked if I would be comfortable coaching there. It's been really good."

Dennison noted his group doesn't have a lot of experience but after nearly two weeks of spring ball "they are doing a good job."

"Obviously, there's a lot of inexperience with my position," he said. "But alignment and assignment are main things I am looking for right now.

"The guys are coming along. The more looks we are giving them and the faster the tempo - that's when we'll know how well will do."

Senior Stacy Thomas is the leader of the middle linebacker group after a career-best 85 tackles last season, while Isaac Stewart and Amonte Caban played some snaps last season, while Malik Staples played mostly as a special teams performer as a true freshman.

"Malik is very athletic," Dennison said. "Stacy has had a lot of playing time and the guys look at him as a leader.

"Isaac is a big boy. He's good on first and second down against the run game. He's a thumper."

Dennison is also excited because London Iakopo, who came to U of L as a hard-hitting safety, has been moved to middle linebacker. Iakopo is still only doing limited work this spring after his season ended with a torn ACL last fall.

"I can't wait to get him back," Dennison said.


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