LOUISVILLE, Ky. – During his coaching career, University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino hasn’t had a lot of freshmen start on the offensive lin.
Petrino’s offense, which is known for its complexity, is difficult for a true freshman to understand to be able to get on the field. However, rising sophomore Geron Christian not only was able to get on the field – he excelled at one of the most difficult positions.
The Ocala, Fla., product, started all 13 games at offensive tackle – the only person on a young, revamped line to accomplish such a feat.
Not only did Christian play every game, he played well enough to garner all-ACC accolades as a rookie.
Looking back at 2015, even Christian is astonished on how much he learned in his first season.
“Even just terminology and technique, looking back on last year even when I watch the film, I still kind of laugh at how far I’ve come and pretty much how I got away with just ability and not knowing as much and learning on the run,” Christian stated after practice.
Christian, whose brother Gerald played for the Cardinals in 2013-14, wasn’t the only one out there playing for the first time on the offensive line – which started slow last season before earning respect late in the year, as the Cards won eight of their last 10 games.
“We came a long way just knowing each other, being able to play together, “Christian said. “Terminology and out there making calls, talking to each other, knowing what’s coming and knowing the blitzes.
“Since we are together every day learning, we are learning together so when we talk out on the field or in general, everything just makes more sense and we know what we are doing.”
As the Cards head into the opener, which is just eight days away, the offensive line is more comfortable this season because they are familiar with one another, which is a huge benefit.
“It helps a lot,” Christian said regarding the familiarity of the offensive line. “Knowing what’s coming and instead of waiting on Tobijah (Hughley) to make the call, everyone knows what’s coming. We can see it already before it comes, and when you come out of the huddle you can kind of tell by if the safety is moving over, we already know how to set up.”
Despite starting every game last season, Christian understands that he needs to continue to work to be out on the field next Thursday versus Charlotte. He knows that last year is over, and 2016 is a new season.
“Regardless of how many games I started last season, I still have to come out every day and compete,” Christian said. “Everybody is here for the same reason. We all have the same goal, and we push each other to just compete. “
The Cardinals will begin their journey to reach their ultimate goal – a national championship – when Charlotte invades Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium next Thursday at 7 p.m.