Louisville Football: Who Steps Up In Jon Greenard’s Absence?


Louisville football is without its defensive leader in Jonathan Greenard for an indefinite period of time. Who steps in for the Cards?

Coming off of a season where their defense was about as bad as it could be, Louisville football needs every body that they can get to add depth on defense.

The Cards took a massive hit on the first drive of the game vs Alabama when defensive end and captain Jonathan Greenard left the game for good with a hand injury.

As it turns out, the Cards will be without Greenard’s services for an indefinite period of time this season. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said on Monday that Greenard has a pretty significant ligament tear in his hand, and will be out for “a while.”

What this means exactly is hard to tell. Ligament injuries can be tricky. Sprains and ligament tears can linger, and take time to heal, and timetables are on a case-by-case basis.

Losing Greenard is a tough pill to swallow. The Cards don’t return much on the defensive side of the ball, and Greenard is a captain who was expected to be a vocal leader. We saw exactly what life is like without him on the field when the Cards were flagged four times for having twelve men on the field.

Greenard, however, was also key for the Cards to get into the backfield. In a year where he came off the bench in 2017, he still led the team in tackles for loss.

Louisville will need someone to step up and be that guy who gets into the backfield and wreaks havoc for opposing offenses. Let’s take a look at the some of the players Louisville will have to rely on for the foreseeable future.

Tabarius Peterson

Peterson started opposite of Greenard against Alabama, and recorded 3 tackles. The redshirt sophomore who recorded 18 tackles last season is primed for a breakout year.

Now, Peterson is going to be in a position where he could be a focal point on this Louisville defensive line. Look for Peterson to be getting into the offensive backfield at will, starting with Saturday’s tilt against Indiana State.

Michael Boykin

Boykin is a JUCO transfer who is an instant-impact player. Listed at 6’6,” and well over 300 pounds, Boykin was a highly coveted player coming out out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He spurned offers from the likes of Auburn, Alabama, Miami, USC, and more.

Boykin was expected to play a lot against Alabama, but was injured early on in the game, and was held out as a precautionary measure. He looks to be good to go for ISU, and that is excellent news because the Cards will desperately need him.

Boykin will continue to see a lot of time at defensive tackle, but hopefully he can pick up some slack with some less experienced players lining up next to him.

Jarrett Jackson

Jackson is a true freshman who is making a difference right away for the Cards. He only a few months removed from high school, and is already 6’6,” 281 pounds.

Jackson has the size and ability to play significant minutes right away, and he will with Greenard out. He recorded 5 tackles in the opener against Alabama, and will only get better as the season goes on.

Amante Caban

Look for Caban to continue to assume a larger role.

He warmed up with the starters in game one, and saw significant time. The coaches have been high on Caban’s potential since he arrived on campus. He will look to improve on a 3 tackle performance going forward.

Don’t forget about guys like Derek Dorsey– the DuPont Manual product- who saw significant time against Alabama and recorded 2 tackles. He will be asked to continue providing depth at tackle, and stepped up in a major way in the season opener.

Gary McCrae – of Last Chance U fame- has the size and skill set to be a serious impact player at the defensive end spot. He will get a shot to prove himself over the next two weeks.

Related Story. Examining the Defensive Line Depth for Louisville in 2018. light

The loss of Greenard stings for the Cards, but the defensive line was by far the most impressive unit in game one, even while playing all but two drives without Greenard and Boykin.

Louisville is talented and deep along the front four. Now, they just need multiple guys to step up and become a vocal leader.