Petrino excited about offensive line depth

After having limited options along the offensive line during spring practice, University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is feeling much better about the group as the team prepares for the start of fall camp.

Bobby Petrino is feeling better about his offensive line these days.

Following a spring that saw his options along the front limited due to injury, the University of Louisville offensive front will have more depth and talent when the Cardinals open fall camp.

Anchoring the line is All-Conference center Jake Smith, guard John Miller and tackle Jamon Brown, but the return of injured and incoming players are providing depth and experience to the front.

Despite three members – Chandler Bridges, Nacho Garcia and Cameron Fraser - choosing to transfer since the end of spring practice, Petrino is pleased with the depth now present. Those unavailable in spring are now fully healthy, additions from the incoming recruiting class, and work in the weight room has Petrino feeling more positive about the group.

“We have some guys back with us at full speed that we didn't have in spring, so I am very excited about our depth now and the look that we have on our offensive front,” Petrino said this week.

Returning from the injured reserve are junior right tackle Ryan Mack and sophomore center T.C. Klusman. The 6-foot-5, 309-pound Mack started 12 game for the Cardinals last fall, while as a redshirt freshman last season Klusman appeared in all 13 games.

Also back is 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior Chris Acosta. Acosta, who left the program a year early after graduating, appeared in all 13 games, making 5 starts in 2013.

Junior college transfer Kelby Johnson, who played as a true freshman at Virginia and freshmen Jimmie Terry and Lukayus McNeil also made the fall camp depth chart.

“You get Ryan Mack back, T.C. Klusman is back healthy,” said Petrino. “We also have Chris Acosta back with us, which is really good. I'm excited about him. He's a guy with high energy and works extremely hard. Kelby Johnson, he's one of our junior college transfers, a new addition to the offensive line. I do feel a lot of better about our depth and the competition we'll have there this fall.”

Jamon Brown, who started 13 games at left tackle for the Cardinals last season, has been focused on improving his agility and endurance during the off season. Originally weighing nearly 350 pounds, the product of Louisville Fern Creek measured in notably lighter this week at 327 pounds.

“We felt like if he played four quarters at the highest level to be able to win the game in the fourth quarter you need to get your weight down,'” Petrino explained. “'That was a real commitment on his part. I think he'll be a much better player.”

The Cardinals will begin fall camp on August 5, with the season and ACC opener against Miami set for September 1 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

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