Klenakis likes 'competition level' on O-line

University of Louisville offensive line coach Chris Klenakis updated the media on the offense line after Spring Practice No. 5. The Cardinals have three starters back on the line, including center Jake Smith.

One of the key positions University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino talked about heading into spring practice was at the offensive line spot.

With three starters back, Petrino said the team needed to find five starters and some depth before heading into fall camp.

And after five spring practices, offensive line coach Chris Klenakis said he's excited to see where his unit is headed.

"Tempo and energy," Klenakis said. "We still have a long ways to go, but I like how we are coming out here every day and going to work.

"We just have to keep improving. We're a high-tempo, high-energy (offense). We are going to get after it. We are very multiple and we put a lot on our guys in what we call FBI - football intelligence. They have to be sharp and understand the game."

The Cardinals return center Jake Smith, left tackle Jamon Brown and left guard Jake Smith from last year's year. Those three players have started two years in a row for the Cardinals.

But Klenakis said there's no starting spots spoken for at this point.

"We are all competing," he said. "We have a lot of practices left before we play the University of Miami so we are just going to keep competing and getting better.

"We are going to find our best five."

The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Smith is the leader of the group at the center spot and Klenakis said that is a big start to putting the line together.

"It's always an asset to have a veteran center," Klenakis said. "All of our calls come from inside/out and he has to recognize the fronts, the stunts and make the calls, run checks and pass checks and definitely the more you play the better you are and that's a valuable asset."

Brown and Miller are running with the first team on the left side, while junior Aaron Epps (6-7, 299) and sophomore Pedro Sibiea (6-3, 294) are running with the first team on the right side. Sibiea was moved from defense last week.

"We still have guys competing there and still have guys learning," he said. "We have some talent over there, we just have to keep developing it."

Sibiea had originally been an offensive lineman but was switched last season and saw time late in the year on defense because of injuries.

"He's a good athlete and a flexible kid," Klenakis said. "He has the size we like and he's a young kid."

Sophomore Joe Manley, redshirt freshmen Skylar Lacy and Cameron Fraser, redshirt junior David Noltemeyer and sophomore Tobijah Hughley were among the guys running with the second team during Tuesday's practice.

"You always like having young player battling and competing," Klenakis said. "And this is spring ball, it gives us a chance to rep the young kids more, develop depth and figure out who can help us in the fall."


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