Position series feature: B.J. Butler

B.J. Butler

Cardinal Authority continues our position series – a look at tight ends – with a short story on the transition of former defensive end B.J. Butler to the offensive side of the ball for the University of Louisville football team.

B.J. Butler had played a little on the offensive side of the ball growing up, but mainly he was a defensive player until prior to the University of Louisville's appearance in the Sugar Bowl last season.

An injury forced the Cardinals to move Butler onto the offensive side, and the senior has taken the ball and run with it.

Butler was a key player in the bowl game – two catches for 43 yards – and has spent all spring and fall camp honing his offensive skills. He will play tight end and be lined up on the line and some in the backfield.

"I didn't think offense was my spot," Butler said. "When I was six, I started off as a quarterback but it was mostly defense all while I was growing up.

But now I just feel right on offense. It feels like home."

The 6-foot-2, 275-pound Butler played in 12 games last season, starting one on defense, and had 28 tackles before he made the switch.

Butler said when Ryan Hubbell went down in the regular-season finale, the U of L coaches asked him to make the switch and he "figured it was worth a shot."

It turned out to be brilliant.

With his size, athleticism and physicality, Butler was a match-up nightmare for Florida. He caught a 23-yard pass where he was ruled down at the 1-yard-line after a replay and then added a 20-yard reception later in the game.

"He can do so many things for us," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said.

Butler and the coaches decided to keep him at tight end this season and he's gone through spring ball and said he is "still learning."

"I have to learn more stuff," he said. "I'm getting a lot of it down pat, trying to remember all the formations. I get lost every now and then in the formations. But once I get on the field and I see it, then I will remember it."

While Butler said he does miss being on defense, in the long run he knows the team is better now that he's on offense.

"It's going to be tough for the defense because I can line up on the line as tight end and shift into the backfield," Butler said. "They don't know who is still a tight end so their strength is going to be messed up."

Tight end coach Sherrone Moore said Butler has spent a lot of time studying the offense, "trying to pick it up and is doing a great job."

"As far as physicality, he brought that when he first came over," Moore said. "He's picking up assignments on every pass and run now. He's getting better and better at that all of the time."

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