- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Louisville's shoddy secondary started to improve last season when Bobby Buchanan switched from cornerback to safety. Now, Buchanan is one of the leaders on a Cardinals' defense that has been among the best in the Big East. We caught up with the senior this week for some one-on-one coverage.
Five games into the season, where do you think you are as a defense right now?
Bobby Buchanan: We're still playing physical, still trying to play fast, be disciplined and on our assignments. We're still trying to get better. We know we're a good defense, and we're trying to work to be great.
Memphis gained a lot of yards on you last week, but you were able to come out with the win. Was that encouraging or discouraging?
BB: Obviously, our offense did their job, and we made turnovers on defense and special teams with a field goal block and a fumble recovery. As a defense going against a spread team, you know they're going to get yards. The whole point is just to get off the field. They showed us a lot of things we didn't see on film, but we played our assignments and ran our checks and were able to get the win.
What's the biggest difference between last year's defense and this year's?
BB: The biggest key to improvement is discipline, effort and execution. The new coaching staff came in and basically their whole point was to change the culture and change the attitudes. They worked with us through the winter and spring, and that's carried on through the fall.
It's your second year now at safety. Do you feel comfortable at the position?
BB: It's been fun. I still get to come down and cover every now and then and I can still come downhill as a safety. Last year I was about 188, and this year I weigh between 190 and 196. Still with that, I've worked on my speed a lot and my man coverage has gotten a lot better.
Your older brother, Ray Buchanan, was a star defensive back at Louisville and in the NFL. How much did you learn about football from him?
BB: I've been watching him and my other brothers coming up since I was 4. Just growing up around football, I've always had the natural ability for it. But with coach (Ron) English and other coaches that have been here, they've taught me more about the game -- blocking assignments, how to attack the ball, keep leverage, where to release on man and zone coverage. They've taught me more specifics about the game.
So you don't talk about those kinds of details with Ray?
BB: Nah, he's busy with ESPN "First Take" and radio. We talk every now and then about how I've done, but mostly we just stay in touch.
How do you think he's doing in his second career as a broadcaster?
BB: He does very well. He's on "First Take," and as I can see from watching him sometimes, he always has the audience laughing.
Do you feel like you guys still have a shot at winning the Big East this year?
BB: The Big East is wide open. We see teams like West Virginia struggling, South Florida (losing) obviously. Everybody is touchable. We know we've got to stay focused and play it game by game and try to win out the rest of our games this season, and we should be in good shape for the Big East title.
You've been around this league a while now. What's your favorite place to go on the road?
BB: My favorite place is West Virginia. Especially last year, even though we had a tough loss, the crowd ... most crowds mean to demean you as a player and everything like that, but the crowd and the energy there makes you even more pumped up to get after it.
And your least favorite?
BB: Rutgers. The reason I hate that place so much is I know we were a field goal block away from going to probably a national championship (in 2006). If we would have won that game, we could have been that Florida that beat Ohio State that year. Just from memories, that's my least favorite place.