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January 1, 2008

English accepts Louisville offer

Now that he has helped Michigan contain Heisman winner Tim Tebow during a 41-35 win in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Wolverine defensive coordinator Ron English is headed to Louisville. Confirmation of the deal that had UofL fans buzzing came Tuesday afternoon.

"I called them last night and said I'd take the job," English told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I've appreciated my time at the University of Michigan, particularly the opportunity to work with coach Lloyd Carr, a man I love."

English agreed to a two-year deal to lead the Cardinal defense, which struggled in nearly every defensive category this season. He told the AP that he's up for the challenge.

"I'm excited about the opportunity at Louisville, where I'm going to get another chance to prove that I can affect change," English said. "We need to change the personality of the defense, and I can't wait to get started."

His background at Michigan has been stellar. He concentrated on the secondary in 2004 and 2005 before he became the defensive coordinator the last two seasons.

Michigan led the nation in run defense in 2006, and English was named Defensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com. He was also recognized as one of the nation's Top 25 recruiters according to Rivals.com for his work in bringing in one of the nation's Top 25 recruiting classes.

After last season, the Wolverines had four defensive starters taken in the first two rounds of the 2007 NFL Draft, and lost three additional starters as NFL free agents.

Despite early struggles against Appalachian State and Oregon (both Michigan losses), Engl;ish's Wolverine defense finished No. 24 in the nation in total defense, No. 22 in scoring defense and No. 13 in passing efficiency defense.

Despite the success, English and all but one of the rest of the Michigan coaches were not retained when new coach Rich Rodriguez took over for retiring coach Lloyd Carr. Only running backs coach Fred Jackson was kept.

Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe has repeatedly said he is looking for a defensive coordinator that puts significant pressure on the quarterback and English certainly fits the bill. The Wolverines were No. 27 in the nation in sacks (2,58 per game) and 21 in tackles for a loss with 7.17 per game in 2007.

That pressure was effective. His 2007 Wolverine defense rated No. 8 in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 179 yard passing per game. In the Capital One Bowl Tuesday, English's defense limited Heisman winner Tim Tebow to his lowest total of the season, just 154 yards passing on 17 of 33 attempts. A dual threat, Tebow also had just 16 carries for 58 yards, 10 yards below his per game average.

English will replace Mike Cassity, UofL's defensive coordinator for the last four seasons. Cassity was fired just a few days after UofL finished a 6-6 season in which the defense finished 84th in total defense and 93rd in scoring defense in the country.


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