Louisville special teams are coming around

University of Louisville special teams coach Tony Grantham updates us on the improvement in the special teams after two games this season. John Wallace and Ryan Johnson have been solid in kicking, while the coverage teams are improving.

Special teams is a key part of the college football game. But for the past few years, many University of Louisville football fans felt like the Cardinals were lacking in that area.

New U of L coach Bobby Petrino and his staff want to change that, noting in the preseason they would use starters on most of the special teams units.

And after two games, the Cardinals are improved.

U of L has a kickoff return for a touchdown, two field goals and the Cardinals haven't given up a return over 25 yards on the season.

But special teams coach Tony Grantham said don't think the Cardinals are not trying to perfect all four units. Grantham said it's been good but bot great.

"We are still a work in progress," he said. "We are a long way from where we want to get too but we have had some individuals step up. But there's still times we're doing things the way we need to do them and then one or two guys miss an assignment. So that's preventing us from making a big play. We're close. We feel like we're getting there."

One of the biggest plays of the year for the Cardinals has been the 97-yard kickoff return by Corvin Lamb in the second quarter of the opener against Miami.

Grantham said it was the one time when everything was done like it should be, starting with the way Lamb took the kick at the 3-yard-line.

"He did such a great job of setting up the blocks," Grantham said of Lamb. "He really pressed the field one way, allowed the guys to get leverage on their man and he read it perfectly and cut it back against the pursuit.

"And he has enough speed and when it's all going downhill, he's got a chance to go all of the way and that's what he did."

Grantham said junior kicker John Wallace has played so many snaps in his career that the staff "expected him to do what he's doing," but still they don't take him for granted because he's a difference-maker for the Cardinals.

Wallace is 2-for-2 on field goals and perfect on 13 extra points this season, booting 38 of 47 field goals for his career. He's 103 of 109 on extra points.

"He has great accuracy and a really strong leg," Grantham said. "Just knowing once you get the ball in positive territory then you have a chance to get points is a big thing. A guy like that is a huge weapon for a team."

Grantham noted all of the units on special teams are full of starters and other key players because the staff, "understands the importance of (special teams)."

"It's going to be an explosive play," he said. "Every time you kick off, even if you kick it into the end zone you are going to get it at the 25 and that's good for a lot of people. We want to keep them inside the 20, that's our goal.

"And to do that you have to have guys that are committed, guys that are going to run down and cover the play. It's really a defensive play so you have to have good guys but at the same time we have to try and develop some depth."

Grantham said he was excited to get some young guys game experience last week against Murray State the entire second half on all of the special teams units.

"We have to try and develop depth," he said.

One of the players who has been a bright spot on special teams is freshman running back L.J. Scott, who plays on the kickoff team, kickoff return teams, punt team and punt return. He had made several key plays for the Cardinals.

"He's been really impressive," Grantham said. "He's the first guy into the meeting, sits right in the front row and takes all the notes. He's a true student of the game and it has paid off for him out there."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories