Darius Mann ready to perform

After spending his first year as a Cardinal working with the scout team, University of Louisville redshirt freshman safety Darius Mann is making the most of his first spring practice...

After serving his role as a valuable member of the scout team last fall, redshirt freshman Darius Mann entered his spring practice at Louisville focused on learning and becoming comfortable with the Cardinals defensive backfield.

"I think I have learned most of our package thoroughly now," said the 5-foot-11, 200-pound strong safety. "Now I just have to go out on the field and do it. I need to clean up my mental mistakes so I can go out and perform."

As he has become more comfortable with the Cardinal defensive schemes over the last week and a half of spring practice, Mann has seen his amount of reps increase, something he credits to the more experienced players in front of him.

"Being out there with the older guys is making it more comfortable for me," he said.

Mann's desire to improve and help make a difference next fall increased with each passing game last fall. Mann, along with most of last year's redshirts, spent the 2005 season watching from the stands or on television.

"It's very hard," he said of being seperated from the team during games. "It makes you want to work even harder to get on the field wearing that uniform. I'm excited just to be wearing the uniform."

With the majority of the defensive backfield returning from last year's youth-filled group, Mann expects the secondary to be one of the team's strongest points in 2006.

"I think we are strong at safety and solid at corner," he said. "I think we will do well this season. I think our strong points on defense this year will be at linebacker or defensive back. I think we will do real well this year."

The New Jersey native recently had the opportunity to visit with close friend and former Don Bosco Prep teammate Matt Simms when the Scout.com four-star quarterback visited U of L for the program's junior day.

"I got to talk to him for a little bit," he said. "I think he likes it here."

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