Klenakis excited for direction of oline

University of Louisville offensive line coach Chris Klenakis discusses the new signees and returning experience. Cardinal Authority has this report.

University of Louisville offensive line coach Chris Klenakis, a 24-year coaching veteran, likes what he has in his first season with the program. The Cardinals return a the nucleus of linemen from last season's 12-1 team and has added four impressive newcomers in the 2014 recruiting class.

The new signees include three freshmen – Danny Burns, Lukayus McNeil and Jimmie Terry – along with ACC experienced junior college transfer Kelby Johnson. While only on the job for three weeks prior to National Signing Day, Klenakis liked the final product.

"We like this class because it has size and athleticism," he said. "That, and you have guys that are used to winning. You have guys who know how to win, know how to compete and that's real important in the offensive line position because its not all about stats there. You have to have guys that have the motivation and guys who like to win."

In addition to being considered an excellent line coach, Klenakis also has a reputation of being a solid recruiter. Despite the short window remaining on the recruiting calendar when he arrived, he credits the status of the program for making it easier to gain commitments from recruits.

"We have a great product here to sell and that really helps," he explained. "We came in as a new staff and when you have such an outstanding product to sell - great facilities, great academics, great tradition of winning and going into a great conference, that's a heck of a product. That puts a little bounce in your step when you hit the road and you can look the kids in the eye and show a little excitement, because you have something to be excited about."

He also credited the current players and the Cardinals fan base.

"I think our players did a great job when we brought these young men in for official visits," he continued. "The community has done a great job – you can tell the support. There's a reason that this is the number college sports town in the country."

The 6-foot-7, 300-pounds Kelby Johnson, who spent last season at ASA College, played at Virginia as a true freshman is expected to contibute immediately with the Cardinals. How soon the others see the field depends on their readiness and the experience of those already on the roster.

"They are all different in that respect," Klenakis said. "I've had some kids that its taken two years before they become competitive and I've had others that compete right away. A lot of it depends on your needs."

The experience of the returning linemen will be key as the Cardinals make the move to the ACC next season.

"There's no substitute for experience," he said. "These guys have been in the wars, they've been in the battles. They've played over 30 games and more importantly they've played together. The oline is about cohesivness and becoming a unit. That's how you become a great line, when your unit is strong."

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