Butler, Harrington utility guys for Cardinals

B.J. Butler/Jalen Harrington (#42)

B.J. Butler and Jalen Harrington have been key players for the University of Louisville football team the past two weeks. But at the tight end spot, not on defense where the two started the season. Cardinal Authority has the story.

B.J. Butler has played in every game this season at defensive end, while Jalen Harrington has been a key special teams player for the University of Louisville.

But two weeks ago when tight end Nate Nord was sidelined heading into the Cincinnati game, the coaching staff needed help on the offensive side of the ball.

So, Butler and Harrington both took a crash course with the offensive coaches and actually started the Friday night game against Cincinnati. Butler played on both sides of the ball in that game and last week against Temple. Harrington also played on special teams during both games.

"They had never been on that side of the ball until that Tuesday," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "We had Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday to get them up to speed. We had to be smart and had to manage them."

The two were used mainly for blocking purposes and were in on the first touchdown drive of the game against Cincinnati.

Butler also had two tackles against Temple and one against Cincinnati, while Harrington had two assisted tackles against the Owls.

"I gave up my personal values for the team," Butler said. "It's not about me, it's about the team. I would do anything to help us win."

A former Fern Creek High School star on both sides of the ball, Harrington said he saw the switch as helping the team and also a chance to get on the field.

"It was one of those things that I played offense and defense my whole life, so it was not a big change," he said. "It was more about helping the team and I knew they needed me to get on the field and make blocks and help out."

Harrington said the switch was "pretty easy," noting that "it just comes natural to me to play offense."

A native of Kissimmee, Fla., Butler played tight end in high school so he was used to the position. He said he spent a lot of time watching film the first week.

"It was kind of tough but I met with coaches every day," Butler said. "For the most part, I did it pretty well. I am a utility guy, so wherever they need me.

They need me on defense now."

Nord will return to the lineup this week but Watson said he would still use Butler and Harrington on offense, noting the tight end is important to the scheme.

Butler will likely see most of his action on defense this weekend when the Cardinals play at Syracuse on Saturday.

"This would be week three this week and we are able to do more with them now than we were the first week," Watson said. "They are both learning a lot.

"Those two kids are having great years for our football team. Jalen will continue to work with us, and B.J. will also in a little more limited roll. Jalen will be in a role for us offensivenly. We love what he brings. He brings a lot of thump and he's an athlete, just an exceptional athlete. He has a real future as an H (back) in our system."

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