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Preseason Senior Spotlight: William Savoy
By Ira Green for Inside the Huddle
Moving at a rapid pace is a trait that athletes are often used to, especially football players.
The instant the center-quarterback exchange takes place, it’s hard to fabricate that nearly a hundred different things are happening at once. The offensive line is trying to protect its play-caller, the receivers are running their respective routes and the coaching staff and sidelines are in a flurry. On the opposite side of the ball, the defensive line is trying to pressure the quarterback or ball carrier, the linebackers are covering their territory, the secondary is hoping to avoid any major gains – and similarly, the defensive staff is on its toes.
So, it would be natural to expect University of Louisville defensive end William Savoy to be in that mindset – someone who’s constantly looking for the next play or big thing in life. However, Savoy seems to stray from that framework, focusing more on the present and improving before moving forward.
When asked about his goals heading into the 2011 season, his final season collegiately, he didn’t respond with an individualistic mentality. In fact, it was the exact opposite.
“As a senior, it’s to develop the young guys and also go to a BCS bowl game,” Savoy says. “With the young guys that we brought in, I’m working with them to get the fundamentals down and developing them, and they can help this year and that’s all that really matters.”
While his statistics from the 2010 season probably won’t knock you off your chair (16 tackles and one sack), he helped lead a defensive unit that ranked among the nation’s elite: sixth in sacks per game (3), ninth in pass defense (167.38 yards per game), 14th in total defense (311.69 yards per game) and 18th in scoring defense (19.38). Arguably, the more memorable moment for the fans is when Louisville defeated Southern Miss, 31-28, in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl game, giving the Cardinals their first bowl victory since 2007.
In turn, the successful season quickly created quite a bit of buzz in Louisville – a buzz some, including players, hadn’t seen in years.
With coach Charlie Strong opening two practices to the public, one of them being Friday, it was natural to be curious about the crowd that would show. Hastily, fans – covered from head to toe in Cardinal gear – bolted past the gate and onto the sidelines of the practice fields to get a glimpse of their Cardinals. Pessimistically, there were 1,000 on hand. Realistically, the masses exceeded that total.
“The turnout was a lot more than the previous years,” Savoy, ecstatically, says. “It’s fun – it’s good seeing all the people out here supporting the Cardinal Nation. It gives us juice to perform.
“I feel like the fans are back into it. They believe in coach Strong and the system, and we’re going to try our best to put on a show every game. It’s looking pretty good.”
In order to put on a show, Savoy understands that cohesiveness plays a critical role in team success. Similar to the Cardinals’ offensive line and what seems to be a trend across football, the Elizabethtown, Ky., native says his unit – the defensive line – is taking major strides at becoming and acting like one.
“We’re really working on getting closer as a unit away from the field – that’s where the trust issue comes in,” Savoy says. “If I can trust the guy next to me and he can trust the guy next to him, it boils on to the field. We’ve been really trying to kick it with each other more and be around each other more. Our offensive line does that very well, that’s why they’re so close knit. We’re trying to be like that as well.”
Determined on characterizing his success by team accomplishments, Savoy understands the necessity of development and patience. And when the time comes, the wait will be more than worth it.