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Ron English 'Happy as Hell' to be Back in Louisville

Louisville Report on FanNation logo Louisville Report on FanNation 3/24/2023 Matthew McGavic
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The co-defensive coordinator previously spent the 2008 season with the Cardinals.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Preparation for a new era of Louisville football is now in full swing. Earlier this week, the Cardinals kicked off their month-long spring practice, holding the first organized practices under new head coach Jeff Brohm.

Of course, Brohm isn't the only new coach roaming the sidelines for Louisville. When former head coach Scott Satterfield left to take the Cincinnati job last December, nine of his ten position assistants opted to either follow him to Bearcats or pursue other jobs.

When Brohm decided that he wanted to return to his alma mater, he brought a lot of his previous staff from Purdue along with him. One of the coaches that came with him was Ron English, who now serves as the Cardinals' co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

"It's awesome to be here in Louisville," English said Thursday following UofL's second practice of the spring. "You know what it feels like? It feels like guys are invested. That's what it feels like. It feels like guys really are happy. You can see me, I'm happy as hell to be here."

As many fans know, this isn't English's first go-round with Louisville, as he previously spent the 2008 season as the Cardinals' sole defensive coordinator under then head-coach Steve Kragthorpe. While he was only in town for a single season, English recalls that it was one where he had a plethora of fun coaching football, and it was part of the reason why he wanted to come back for another stint.

"Tom Jurich was the AD and brought me in here, and treated me like a king," English said. "I had so much fun with the players. We played good defense for most of the year, that year that I was here. And then I love the players. I like the kind of players we get at Louisville. I like the fact that we get guys who love football, and we get good athletes. That part is fun. And there's expectations here. I like the fact that there are expectations here at this university."

That 2008 season is where English's long-standing relationship with Brohm also began, as Brohm spent that season as the Cardinals' offensive coordinator. 13 years later, the two would be reunited when Brohm - then the head coach at Purdue - brought English on board to be his co-defensive coordinator. He spent two seasons with Brohm in West Lafayette, Ind. before making the move to Louisville.

A mutual respect between the two, on top of English's prior experience at Louisville, played a role in him wanting to follow Brohm. That, and he can see shades of his own coaching style in his boss.

"I think we always respect each other, we respected the way we coached," English said. "He said one day, 'you're a lot more like me than you think,' and I was like, 'No, I know I'm a lot like you in a lot of ways.' What's fun about Jeff is, he's a ball coach. That's what he is. He doesn't have a whole lot of our hobbies. He's got family, and he's got football, and he's got his faith. The reality is, he's not one of those guys who's gonna go play 18 holes, or go out to eat. He's going to go spend time with family, and he's going to coach football. That's right up my alley, man. We talk and go back and forth all the time. I learn a lot of football from him."

English and Brohm are far from the only coaches on staff who have prior connections to Louisville. Of the ten position assistants on staff, six of them either played for Louisville, previously coached as an assistant at Louisville, or were born in the city of Louisville. English already believes that the staff isn't one that is filled with a bunch of egos, but with the myriad of prior connections to the program and community, he knows that their hearts are firmly in the right place.

"They're invested in this program for the right reasons, because we all want to win and we all care about this town," he said. "We know that we're blessed to be in a town where we're the pro team. There are no other tickets being sold. So we got to do our job and get that stadium filled up."

English is anchoring a system change on that side of the ball for Louisville, going from Bryan Brown's 3-4 to his 4-2-5 scheme. It was a defense that ranked No. 33 in all of college football during Purdue's regular season, giving up just 346.8 yards per game.

While Brohm is an offensive-minded coach, it's very much a scheme that he wants to run, and he wants it to be noted as "aggressive and progressive."

"He wants you to know what's effective and what's ineffective," English said. "He wants you to know your personnel, and what do they do well. ... We gave him some plays (at Purdue), and we just adjusted as we went. That's part of the beauty of coaching. We're going to work at it until the end. We're gonna keep adjusting. We're gonna figure out what's best for this team."

(Photo of Ron English: Nikos Frazier - Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK)

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