MLB Lamar Myles climbs the depth chart

As reported by Inside The Ville last week, redshirt freshman Lamar Myles received the majoirty of the reps at middle linebacker with the first unit defense, while Matt Sanders and Nate Harris spit the rest. Following Friday's 1-hour practice ITV caught up with Myles, as well as middle linebackers coach Reggie Johnson, and discussed the competition at that position.

The competition to replace Robert McCune in the middle of the Cardinal defense was intense throughout fall camp, as Matt Sanders, Lamar Myles and Nate Harris all received reps with the first unit. Just days prior to Louisville's season-opener at Kentucky, defensive coordinator Mike Cassity told Inside The Ville that a decision concerning a starter had yet to be made.

Local Male Traditional High School product Matt Sanders would eventually earn the starting spot against Kentucky and received the majority of the snaps in the 31-24 road win.

However, in keeping with his philosophy, U of L head coach Bobby Petrino mixed things up during practice last week.

"It's all about competition," said U of L middle linebacker's coach Reggie Johnson. "Coach Petrino believes what makes a good football team is competition at every position and that is what is going on right now."

Redshirt freshman Lamar Myles received an increasing amount of reps with the first unit defense throughout the week, while Matt Sanders and Nate Harris split the rest.

"It feels real great to be getting the opportunity," said the Florida native. "I'm building a good relationship with the other guys. I've been learning a lot more and getting a lot of reps. It's starting to come to easy to me."

Johnson added that Myles enjoys the physical type of play needed at that position.

"I think one of the biggest things about playing in the middle is that you can't be afraid of contact and have an aggressive attitude," said Johnson. "Lamar enjoys contact and right now he is running to the ball pretty good. I think those are his strong points right now."

However, the former Florida All-State selection and 3-star linebacker says that while he has been performing well in practice, that he does still need to improve.

"I'm a hard hitter, but I still need to work on the pass game," he said. "I'm doing pretty good with the run game."

According to his position coach, it's not a matter of not knowing what to do, but simply just using what he has already learned.

"I think he's doing fine with that," Johnson said of Myles' pass-coverage ability. "It's just a matter of him focusing on his assignment. He knows what to do - he's fine."

Lamar Myles on Thursday
In addition to solid work put in by Myles last week, is how his competition has handled the adjustments.

"It still the same," Myles' said of the unit's relationship. "Every time you come out to practice you have to compete. We are all still friends, but it's always going to be a competitive thing."

Johnson agreed.

"When we started they all knew that everything was open, because that's our approach," he explained. "They know each day that they are on the field that they have to prove themselves. It's about those guys stepping up to the plate and doing what we are asking them to do."

Johnson also said that while Myles did see an increase of reps during practice last week, that the decision on a starter for this weekend's home-opener against Oregon State has yet to be decided.

"I don't know yet," he said. "We still have a few more days of practice and preperation, so we will see how things work out over the next few days. Whether it is one guy or two guys, we will get the job done at that position"

And, just as was the sitution following the win at Kentucky, the competition for the top spot on the depth chart will continue.

"We don't just give it to them," said Johnson. "They have come out and prove themselves. It's an on-going process."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories