Campa leads way for Cards new linebackers

Louisville will count on several newcomers to help solidify the linebacker corps this season. One of those players, JUCO transfer Chris Campa, has made a big impact since joining the program in January. Campa is working as the first team outside linebacker and recently spoke with about his unit's progress.

Chris Campa, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior college transfer, led Butler's 12-0 NJCAA National Title team in tackles (104) last season. Campa graduated from Butler last December and got a leg up on the competition by going through spring practice with the Cardinals.

"Chris got the benefit of going through spring drills even though he did get hurt the last week," first-year linebacker coach Bill Miller said. "He had a little shoulder problem but we think he's back to full speed now. Going through the spring helped him a great deal."

Campa has proven a solid pickup for the Cardinals. He's fast and aggressive as an outside linebacker and always seems to be around the ball in position to make a tackle. That's exactly what new coordinator Ron English is looking for – linebackers who will swarm to the ball and fly around the field. Louisville found a few junior college transfers that fit that description.

"We've come in here hungry and ready to play," said Campa. "Everything is new to us and we're just jumping into the swing of things to be ready to play."

Though Campa played one season at Eastern Michigan before heading to Butler, he still had a major adjustment coming from junior college to Louisville.

"Trying to fit in with the team, the speed of the game and trying to re-adjust to a brand new defense that Coach (Ron) English brought to us has been a challenge," Campa said. "College life (at UofL) is a lot different than junior college because junior college is relatively small. This is big-time football."

Since the end of spring practice, Campa said he's made some big strides adjusting to English's style of defense.

"I understand the defense and I'm getting to know the concepts more," Campa said. "Coach English brought a lot of new concepts and I need to know exactly what I'm supposed to do."

"When he first came here in the spring we were still trying to get used to the (system) and nobody really knew what was going on," Campa added. "He brought brand new things to us that nobody had ever seen before. So everybody was basically trying to get into the swing of things. Now, coming from spring we already know what to look for and what to do. Basically it's coming along."

That's the ultimate challenge for Campa and Louisville's other newcomers at linebacker – playing fast and reacting instead of thinking about what they should be doing on the field.

"Once you know what to do it helps you play a lot faster," Campa said. "Back in the spring we were kind of hesitant because we were adjusting to the new defense he brought but now we're getting the hang of things so we can play a lot faster. Everybody swarms..that's our team motto – Red Swarm. We want to get everybody – all eleven guys swarming to the ball."

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