Bigger, stronger and just as fast

University of Louisville defensive lineman Earl Heyman visited with InsideTheVille.com while waiting for his turn to take to the podium at Wednesday evening's Cardinal Caravan stop. The sophomore talks about his continued prep for his move from end to tackle, his early impressions of Peanut Whitehead and more.

As a former U.S. Army All-American, defensive lineman Earl Heyman reported to the University of Louisville last summer with plenty of high expections from himself, coaches and fans alike. His intense desire to continually improve, coupled with his attention to details, helped the Louisville Ballard High School product become a regular along Cardinals defensive front last fall as a true freshman.

He appeared in 11 games in 2005, recording 17 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, recovered two fumbles - returning one for a touchdown - and grabbed one interception.

Part of your off season focus has been to add more weight to help you with your move from defensive end to defensive tackle. How's your off season work coming along?

"Right now I'm working out and running and trying to get used to carrying my weight. I've added 40 pounds – last time I weighed I was 287. They have me playing end and tackle, so they want me around 285 and I'm pretty confident (playing) with that."

One of your greatest assets coming out of Ballard High School was your speed and ability to run from sideline to sideline. Has the added size effected your speed and ability to react to the ball?

"It's the same. When I played some end in the spring game some of the offensive lineman told me that I played better end than tackle. The weight doesn't hurt me – it's just getting used to it because I added it all so fast."

U of L lost a number of starters from last year's defensive front to the NFL, so with spring ball now behind you, what is your take on 2006 version of the Cardinal defensive line?

"Adrian Grady, Brandon Cox, Amobi Okoye, Zach Anderson – we should be pretty strong because we have a lot of experience from everybody playing some last year. We're bringing along the freshmen and they have a lot of potential themselves. I think we'll be really, really strong this year."

Some of the freshmen have arrived on campus and have started to join the veterans in their daily voluntary workouts. What are your early impressions of defensive end Peanut Whitehead?

"It wasn't too long ago that I was in the same spot that he is in. I had guys like Elvis showing me the ropes, so now it's my turn. He's pretty intuitive and he has a good work ethic. He's a guy that has great potential."

It was announced a couple days ago that the Miami at Louisville game will be broadcast on ABC. It must be exciting to know that you'll be playing on television so often this season.

"Any game that is on national television is going to get everybody excited. We just have to take it one game at a time and hopefully by the time we get to the Miami game we will be getting better and better every week."

This team is getting a lot of preseason attention from the national media, including talk of a Big East title and a legit shot at playing the BCS championship. Is it hard not to pay to much attention to preseason hype?

"We're still going to take it one game at a time. Our attitude is ‘beat Kentucky'. Right now we just want to focus on ‘beat Kentucky.' Everybody knows how important that is. You always have to play with a chip on your shoulder and play hard, and that's all everybody on this team wants to do. We all just want to beat Kentucky."


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