University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong said one of the best things about this year's team is the competition in practice.
The players are pushing each other for the Cardinals.
And in some cases the players are also battling for starting positions on the preseason No. 9 ranked team in the Associated Press poll.
"We have some good battles going on," Strong said.
One of those quality battles is the starting position at right tackle between Ryan Mack and Nacho Garcia.
"We're in a good competition," Garcia said. "We both love to compete. Of course, I am fighting for that starting spot but we're both going to be in the rotation. We are going to make each other better and we are both going to play."
Garcia is a 6-foot-5, 347-pound sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while Mack is a 6-5, 319-pound redshirt sophomore from Memphis, Tenn.
"I would say that is a dead-heat right now," offensive line coach Dave Borbely said earlier this week. "Both kids are working hard for us. It will go into (next week) before we determine who is the best one there."
Mack said it's "a lot of fun to be in the competition," and might have a slim lead. Garcia missed several days of practiced with an undisclosed injury this week but was back in the Saturday scrimmage for the Cardinals.
"It's good for me and for Nacho," Mack said. "It's a good competition. If you don't want to be a competitor, then you don't want to play football."
Mack redshirted during the 2011 season and played 11 games on the line and special teams last season for the Cardinals. Borbely said he was solid during the spring and was listed as second-team after the spring game.
"What I bring to the table – experience," Mack said. "I know the offense pretty much, but I just have to keep getting better each and every day.
"It's right there for me. I just have to go grab it."
Borbely noted that Mack played significant minutes for the Cardinals during the run to the Sugar Bowl and an 11-2 mark last season.
"Ryan is a big, strong guy," Borbely said. "He's a guy who is a very smart player, he understands what we are doing and brings experience to the table.
"He's a guy on the come and just needs to keep progressing."
Garcia stepped into the action as a true freshman last season, playing six games and was a major contributor late in the season for the Cardinals.
"Nacho is a big, strong guy," Borbely said. "He plays with an attitude and level of toughness and he has great feet."
"I learned a lot last year," Garcia said. "I just want to keep getting better and better. I just have to keep working hard."