The biggest question going into this football season for the Louisville Cardinals was the offensive line. The Cards finished the 2016-17 season allowing 22 sacks in the final three games, finished 126th out of 128 in sacks allowed (47) and allowed the most sack yards in the country for the second straight year.
After just one game, the question seemed like it had its answer – And it wasn’t the answer we had hoped for. The big guys up front had five false start penalties in the first 16 minutes vs Purdue and finished with nine. They also added another penalty for an illegal snap. The “Here we go again” chorus starting ringing loudly through the Cardinal fan base.
Everyone had hoped that the addition of Mike Summers, who coached O-line for Bobby Petrino during Petrino’s first tenure at U of L from 2003-06, as well as with the Atlanta Falcons and the University of Arkansas, as offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator, would be the answer we needed.
Although it wasn’t evident after the first game, it appears that Summers, as well as some personnel changes, has been the answer. The Cards have only given up 17 sacks through 8 games and allowed only 86 sack yards. That is a major improvement and should be applauded. I would think that number would be lower if it were not for having a running quarterback. It’s very difficult to make the necessary adjustments to protect such a mobile quarterback.
Louisville currently leads the nation in first downs. Other stats that the offensive line should take some credit for – Louisville is also currently 4th in the nation in total offense, 9th in passing offense and 20th in passing yards per completion (14.12).
I know, I know. They have the reigning Heisman trophy winner behind them at quarterback. But you can’t give all the credit to Lamar. Lamar needs time to throw the ball.
We are also starting to see improvement in the rushing game as well.
With all the negativity swirling around the Louisville athletic program, I felt it was time to shine some light on the guys who take a lot of blame when things on the football field don’t go well, but never get the credit they deserve when everything is clicking.
It’s really amazing how well redshirt freshman center, Robbie Bell did after the Purdue game. In his first collegiate game, he was having difficulty hearing Lamar’s signals inside Lucas Oil Stadium. He was blasted by the media and blamed for most of the penalties. He never said a word and just worked hard to get better. He has steadily improved and really hasn’t accepted any accolades for his progress. Class act!
The addition of true freshman Mekhi Becton, has really helped take the load off of juniors, Geron Christian, Lukayus McNeil and Kenny Thomas. Becton is a massive 6-7 and weighs in at 340 pounds. He has a future in the NFL and I would say that he has a chance to be the highest Cardinal ever drafted.
— LouisvilleRecruiting (@ULFBRecruiting) October 25, 2017
As Always, GO CARDS!