Louisville coach wants cornerbacks to play with same energy that Jaire Alexander brought

Jaire Alexander has what Louisville cornerbacks coach Steve Ellis calls a “certain spotlight” to him.
Dating back to his days at Louisville, Alexander, now a star with the Green Bay Packers, has never been short of personality and playmaking ability.
That translated to the NFL. He’s now the highest-paid cornerback in the league after a 2022 season that included 56 tackles and five interceptions, tied for fifth-most in the NFL, on 14 passes defended. His postgame interview last Christmas following the Packers’ win over the Miami Dolphins went viral and is one of many memorable off-the-field moments.
So when Ellis showed the Cardinals’ cornerbacks film of professional football players to model their games after this offseason, he started with Alexander, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. His selection ties with safety Calvin Pryor (2014) as the eighth-highest NFL pick in Louisville’s program history.
“When you see somebody that actually played at your university going to the National Football League and be one of the top players at that position, that gives you confidence,” Ellis said. “We can go back and pull up (Alexander’s) videotape here and just watch him play. It's a treat to see and actually know he's really good player for the Green Bay Packers.”
The confidence Alexander’s example has provided is just as contagious for this year’s cornerback group as it was when the North Carolina native was “bringing the juice” as a junior in 2017.
Current Cardinals cornerback Jarvis Brownlee said Wednesday that Louisville’s secondary has the ability to be one of the best in the ACC this season.
“All we’ve got to do is keep executing and just be consistent with doing it,” Brownlee said, “just putting the time in, day in day out. As we keep doing that, we'll keep progressing.”
Clemson tight end Davis Allen (84) is taken down by Louisville defensive back Jarvis Brownlee Jr (12) during the game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
Following a year where he totaled 66 tackles, two interceptions and a team-leading 12 pass breakups, Brownlee is one of three returning starters in the secondary for the Cardinals and one of four defensive backs with starting experience. That list includes M.J. Griffin, Josh Minkins and Quincy Riley, who had a team-high three interceptions in 2022. The group also has three additions from the transfer portal in Marcus Washington (Georgia) and former North Carolina Tar Heels Storm Duck and Cam'Ron Kelly.
"The biggest thing we want those guys come out and feel confident, that they feel good with the system, they know what's going on, they can put their feet in the ground and play fast," Ellis said. "When you're loud, when you're confident, you know what you're talking about, you can make plays (and) most importantly get a chance to help this team be better on defense."
Louisville is set to open the season on the road against ACC foe Georgia Tech on Sept. 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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