Cassity still searching for McCune's replacement

With less than two weeks before the season-opener against rival Kentucky, University of Louisville defensive coordinator Mike Cassity is still seeking a replacement for Robert McCune at middle linebacker.

McCune, the Cardinals leading tackler each of the past two seasons, now plays in the NFL for the Washington Redskins. His graduation last year has created a void that still remains unfilled today.

"Right now, we don't have a clear cut starter," Cassity said after practice Tuesday evening.

Matt Sanders, a 6-3, 245-pound sophomore from Louisville Male, entered fall camp No. 1 on the depth chart. He enjoyed a solid spring, but is getting stiff competition now from junior college transfer Nate Harris, a former high school All-American and University of Miami signee.

Nate Harris.
And though Sanders was still running with the first-team defense yesterday in practice, Cassity said he's giving equal opportunity to both Harris and Lamar Myles, a 6-0, 220-pound redshirt freshman.

"[Matt] is battling right there with the other guys," Cassity said. "He ran with the No. 1 group today but we've been rolling other guys in with the No. 1 unit to get the best combination."

Harris' transition from the junior college ranks to major college football has been a major adjustment. Though he's still trying to learn his way in Cassity's attacking defense, the Cardinals' coordinator is confident that he'll get solid play at the position that McCune once anchored.

"Nate is trying to learn," Cassity said. "It's totally new to him where some of the other guys have been in the system. Between Myles, Harris and Matt Sanders we'll be OK at MIKE linebacker."

Sanders has competed daily with Harris for the starting spot in the middle of Cassity's defense and said yesterday that he's seen progress from the 6-1, 225-pound Miami native.

"He's coming along well," Sanders said of Harris. "We've had a lot of competition throughout the past two weeks at linebacker. We're all playing well and we're going to see what happens."

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