Now three days into practice, Tuesday's two and half hour practice marked the first time this spring Louisville put on the pads and did some hitting. While English was relatively pleased with his defense during their last practice, he wasn't too pleased with their performance with the pads on.
"We made some strides Thursday and I think we didn't get lined up and execute at all today," English said. "We've got a long ways to go but as long as we get better every day we'll be fine I think."
What did English like about the play of his defense last week?
"Well, we kind of learned the defense and learned to line up and our communication has not been bad," English said. "But we took a lot of snaps today with far less guys and got tired. We were inconsistent in alignments and techniques and it was just about as bad as it could get today."
It certainly was a long and hard practice for what appears a relatively thin defensive unit. The Cardinals were without safety Latarrius Thomas and linebacker Eugene Sowell Tuesday and the last 35-40 minutes of practice was extremely physical.
"I thought that was good for us to go through and I told the kids as poorly as I thought we played during that stretch there were two times we should have been off the field and a guy just didn't cover his guy," English said. "What I'm trying to teach these kids is if you leverage the ball and tackle and they've got to drive the ball with a bunch of plays you're going to have a chance to get off the field and play good defense and they are going to score less points."
One player seems to have captured English's attention – junior college linebacker Chris Campa. Campa has worked with the first team defense so far during spring practice and he drew praise from English following Tuesday evenings practice.
"I think Campa is a player," said English. "He'll trigger and he'll play hard and he likes to get after it. I like Campa – he's competitive."
"Bryant hurt us (today) because he's inconsistent and undisciplined right now," English said. "To be good you've got to be consistent and we're all over the place right now. That's the real issue but the kids are trying."
What does English account for the inconsistency?
"I think learning the system and having inconsistent habits – these guys have a lot of bad habits," English said.
English also sounded pleased with sophomore corner Johnny Patrick's performance on the first day with pads on.
"I think Johnny Patrick was competitive, I think he's fearless and he can tackle," English said. "I think Johnny Patrick is going to be a good player for us. He has missed some time because he's been running track but I think he's going to be a real good player for us."
While Josh Wiley, a junior college safety, has been working in with the first team, English says he's got a long way to go and a lot to learn.
"I didn't like him at all today because he really didn't get lined up or execute at all," English said. "It was his first day in pads here at the college level but I was real disappointed in him today because he just didn't execute. There were a bunch of plays for him out there to make and he did not make them."
Perhaps the best aspect of the defense was the play of the defensive line, a unit that caused some disruption and helped stop the run on several key plays.
"I thought they did some good things," English said. "I thought with a little more support from the secondary we'd have played a lot better. But we'll get better. The guys are trying to do what we're asking them to and that's the most important thing."