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Those who dabble in financial trading have surely heard of Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ, but did you know there was once a Cincinnati Stock Exchange?
While that endeavor is no longer, Bearcats the size of bulls and bears will be looking to send quarterbacks in a downward trend by way of the Cincinnati Sack Exchange this fall.
University of Cincinnati football head coach Scott Satterfield's defense is led by Bryan Brown, who directed the University of Louisville Cardinals to an NCAA-leading 50 sacks last season as well as the nation's best fourth-down defensive percentage (.190). They were third in takeaways with 30. Nate Fuqua is co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach after serving as defensive coordinator at Georgia State. His squad had 38 sacks two seasons ago and forced 25 turnovers last season.
Brown walked into the Lindner Center last December to a roster that included Dontay Corleone, an AP and Pro Football Focus Freshman All-American and PFF's highest-graded defensive lineman in the country. In addition to the 6-foot-2, 320-pound "Godfather", Jowon Briggs at 6-foot-1, 305 pounds returned for another season. Corleone's high school teammate at Colerain, Eric Phillips, was a starter at 6-foot-3, 257 pounds; and another local product, 6-foot-4, 263-pound Malik Vann got a medical waiver to return for another season. Redshirt junior Justin Wodtly from Cleveland is also back. Among the above group, there were 12 sacks among Briggs, Corleone, Phillips and Wodtly. Vann was injured early in the season but had 3.5 sacks when the Bearcats made the College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Cotton Bowl.
And there's more....
Fuqua and new inside linebackers coach Cort Braswell will be firing some ammunition as well. Utah State transfer Daniel Grzesiak had 8.5 sacks last season, while senior transfer Dorian Jones had three for Louisville. Redshirt junior Jaheim Thomas has a pro body at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds and registered a pair of sacks last season. Jah-Mal Williams likewise is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds and is a promising punisher as a stand-up defensive end.
Then there's Deshawn Pace roaming about at the nickel/star position at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. He had just one sack a year ago, but his brother Ivan was gridiron greedy in that category, leading UC with 10.
Here's why you could see UC challenge Louisville's NCAA-leading 50 sacks from 2022:
Bryan Brown, UC defensive coordinator
While the new staff didn't coach the Fenway Bowl game, Brown was impressed by the number of Bearcats who were ready to learn the new scheme when he arrived in early December.
"I knew that they had it in them right then and there," Brown said. "These guys were here every day trying to learn our defense, trying to get a jump start. When we got back in January, they were ready to rock and roll. That let me know these guys really wanted to play the game the right way on the defensive side. Here in Cincinnati, it's built on defense."
Nate Fuqua, UC co-defensive coordinator, outside linebackers coach
"I think we have a good front seven that can continue to cause havoc and create those negative plays," Fuqua said. "We're going to ask those guys to pin their ears back and go do that and execute at a high level."
Fuqua has been impressed by Grzesiak, who tormented quarterbacks in the Mountain West for Utah State and before that, Nevada.
"When I got here and met him and watched him after two days, they did a really good job of evaluating him and bringing him along," Fuqua said of the transfer.
Dontay Corleone, human wall
Corleone is among several players to do a number switch for this season. Defensive line teammates Briggs and Vann are now Nos. 0 and 4 respectively. UC's "Wall of Round" is now No. 2.
"I love 58, that's been my number since sophomore year (at Colerain), but a big man's dream is always to have a single digit," Corleone said. "I just feel like it's time."
Where he doesn't want a single digit is in the sack department, and he tries to put his C-paws on as many quarterbacks as possible.
"They're going to put us in the right spot and we're going to execute," Corleone said. "He (Coach Brown) is real motivating every day. It's real motivating to have him stay on top of you so you can reach higher. I was out for the bowl game, so I spent my time in the training room and in his office most of the time. I always want to get better and I feel he's the guy that can take me to the next level and my teammates as well."
Corleone also says to be on the watch for redshirt freshman Derrick Shepard (6-foot-3, 305 pounds), redshirt sophomore Rob Jackson (6-foot-5, 278) and redshirt junior Dominique Perry (6-foot-2, 288).
Malik Vann, the 'OG' of the D-line
Vann is quick to point out that he's not the oldest on the team, citing offensive line transfer Trevor Radosevich, quarterbacks Ben Bryant and Emory Jones Jr. and receiver Dee Wiggins as elder statesmen. So, he's not quite yet Uncle Malik but has heard an "OG" thrown his way.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic year and the medical waiver of last season, Vann is about to embark on season No. 6 as a sack man.
"That's our goal," Vann said. "They (Brown's defense at Louisville) put up a 50 mark and we're trying to surpass it, especially going to the Big 12, a more passing-friendly league. We're trying to get after the quarterback as many ways as we can."
Vann has seen the development of the starters beside him and also references redshirt freshman C.J. Doggette (6-foot-2, 267 pounds) along with redshirt junior Wodtly (6-foot-3, 275), who impressed in his first spring action recently.
Vann, like several Bearcats, appears more streamlined to run.
"I came in at 288 (as a freshman)," he said. "I'm down to about 263 right now. I just feel like I move better when I'm lower in weight, but I'm still strong enough to handle my job."
Skyline Chili Spring Game
A preview of the new squad will be the Skyline-sponsored spring game April 15 at noon. However, as a precaution, the quarterbacks aren't typically permitted to be hit. That may have to wait until the season opener Sept. 2 vs. Eastern Kentucky.
Many of us in town have similar jobs where we compete. Yet, we wake up every day on the same planet as human beings. Chad Brendel of Bearcat Journal lost his wife late Tuesday night after a lengthy battle with cancer. Send your prayers to Chad and his daughter Kelcie.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: New Cincinnati Bearcats defense is jacked about sacking quarterbacks