Brown shows promise

Dave Borbely, Louisville's veteran o-line coach, calls sophomore tackle Jamon Brown the Cardinals most talented offensive lineman. That's a big statement considering Louisville's other talented linemen.

Dave Borbely, Louisville's veteran o-line coach, calls sophomore tackle Jamon Brown the Cardinals most talented offensive lineman.

That's a big statement considering senior center Mario Benavides is an NFL prospect, guard Jake Smith was a freshman All-American last season and sophomore guard John Miller was an All-Big East freshman selection.

Brown, 6'5, 320, arrived at Louisville last year as a defensive lineman. But four games into his freshman season, Charlie Strong switched him to offense because of an assortment of injury issues. Though it was a major adjustment, Brown started two games, gaining valuable experience in the process.

This spring, Brown has worked at tackle with the first team offense. He'll be a key player in what figures to be an improved offensive line for the Cardinals next season.

"I think I've been coming along," Brown told "I do have a lot to work on. I was throw to the wolves [last year]. I was basically going off of things I knew from high school. From then to now I've learned a lot more about the offense and I've picked up a lot more technique."

An athletic tackle, Brown, who entered practice is outstanding physical shape, is working to improve his technique, toughness and endurance this spring.

"What has really helped me is going through a spring workout," Brown said. "Before spring practice started we had a lot of time to work on things from a technique standpoint and learning the offense, which was my biggest thing. That's what really held me back technique-wise."

"Like coach said, I have to get tougher mentally," Brown added. "I want to be a guy that can go 70 plays and not get tired. This spring, I'm focused on getting mentally tougher so I can be that guy this year."

The key in developing that toughness, Brown says, is his work ethic during practice.

"It's coming out to practice with the attitude that I'm going to work hard and put stuff on film that I haven't done before, which is finishing," said Brown. "Need to make sure I don't take reps off and push hard."

Brown could help Louisville's offensive line provide better pass protection for sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals allowed 36 sacks during the regular season and Bridgewater faced constant pressure in UofL's Belk Bowl loss to NC State. Brown said the offensive lines primary objective next season is keeping Bridgewater upright.

"One of our biggest problems last year was pass protection," Brown said. "That's sort of been the focus this spring. We still focus on the run game too. But we want to focus on our weakness, which is protecting Teddy. If we can protect Teddy, he can do good things."

Though there were a few protection breakdowns during Saturday's scrimmage, Bridgewater had time to throw down field often, connecting with DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers for 60 yard plus gains. Bridgewater threw for more than 250 yards in the scrimmage.

"He (Borbely) said we did a lot of good things," Brown said. "He said we didn't have a lot of mental errors and we were pretty good protection-wise. We started off a little slow so we've got to pick up and go hard every play. His biggest point was finishing."

Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson is searching for a go-to running back this spring. Whoever emerges as that back should have plenty of big holes to run through next season behind a big, improving offensive line. Four of Louisville's five offensive line starters top 300 pounds.

"Our strength is the run game and coming off the ball to move people," Brown said. "I think we really push each other. There hasn't been one guy that has stepped up to lead the group. We're trying to go as hard as the guy next to you is going."

What are Brown's thoughts on the running back competition brewing in practice this spring?

"I think there are some pretty good candidates in Corvin Lamb, Dominque Brown, Jeremy Wright," Brown said. "I think we have some guys that can really be that go-to guy. We're trying to find the guy that can really do it."

Who has been the most consistent back this spring?

"I would say Corvin Lamb has come a long way as far as being able to use his technique and stretch plays out or cut runs back to need to be cut back," Brown said.

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