Young defenders making mark this spring

When your defense must replace players like Elvis Dumervil, Montavious Stanley, and Brandon Johnson, you better have some talented players waiting in the wings to step in and take their place. Fortunately, the Louisville Cardinals have plenty of fresh new faces ready for the challenge. Which youngsters are making their mark this spring? InsideTheVille.com has the latest.

When your defense must replace players like Elvis Dumervil, Montavious Stanley, and Brandon Johnson, you better have some talented players waiting in the wings to step in and take their place.

Fortunately, the Louisville Cardinals have plenty of fresh new faces ready for the challenge.

One of those players, 6-6, 240-pound redshirt freshman Jonathan Holston, has moved to the top of the depth chart at defense end opposite Zach Anderson. Holston began spring practice behind junior Brandon Cox, but now finds himself working with the first team defense.

"One of the things that he's really improved on is his desire to go out and be physical," defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Kevin Wolthausen said. "That's one of the things we really stress on defense – to never turn down a hit. He's athletic and he's done a nice job."

Wolthausen has also been pleased with sophomore defensive tackle Adrian Grady. Grady saw significant action last season in a reserve role behind Stanley, and started against Virginia Tech in the Toyota Gator Bowl with Stanley out with an injury.

"Adrian Grady is starting to show that he can push the pocket and be real disruptive up front," Wolthausen said.


Deon Palmer is making a move
in the secondary this spring.

Grady has stepped up as a vocal leader this spring, too. And while Wolthausen welcomes Grady's willingness to become a leader on the defensive side of the ball, he wants to make sure his out-spokenness doesn't affect his focus and responsibilities.

"Sometimes I have to tone him down a little bit," Wolthausen said. "He tends to be a little vocal, and I don't mean that negatively. He's got to make sure he's not losing focus of what his job is."

Sophomore corner Rod Council also left a big impression following Saturday's scrimmage game. A starter last season as a freshman, Council has been a physical presence on the edge of the Cardinals defense this spring.

"When he got involved in run support, he did his job," Wolthausen said. "So that was really impressive. He can do what we ask him to do against these wide receivers, and then come up, be physical, and make some tackles."

Safety Deon Palmer, a physical 6-2, 205-pound sophomore, has also pleased Woltausen with his play this spring. Palmer made five interceptions last week, and has also made a mark with his hard-hitting style.

"It's exciting when you see a very physical player there step up and make tackles," Wolthausen said.


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