The expectations are always high for a Bobby Petrino program, especially on the offensive side of the ball where coordinator Garrick McGee will need to replace a number of key members from last season's 9-4 team.
While there a number of important veterans are back, McGee will need to find starters in nearly all areas on the field. The offensive line is being completely rebuilt, nearly all of the receivers are new faces and battle for the starting quarterback position has grown since the end of spring ball.
Head coach Bobby Petrino recently said that the "real competition" will be on the offensive line, where all five starting spots are up for grabs. Despite the questions that linger, McGee is confident in the group as they open practice.
"They're huge shoes to fill because all three of those guys are practicing in somebody's training camp right now," McGee said. "We didn't just lose three seniors, we lost three guys who are playing in the pros right now. We feel good about our young kids and we recruited well at the position. We just have to grind them up, get them out there at training camp and get them game ready."
Following a spring that saw the trio of Kyle Bolin, Reggie Bonnafon and Tyler Ferguson all spend time working as the first team quarterback, the talented group now welcomes a healthy Will Gardner and freshman Lamar Jackson into the competition for the starting job. It's a collection of quarterbacks on one team that may rank as the best the Cardinals offensive coordinator has worked with.
"It's pretty cool," he said with a smile. "I always tell these guys, 'I want to walk in my meeting room and everybody sitting around the table is a great player.' Right now I'm probably as close to that as I've ever been."
McGee was also very high on the assembled talent at wide receiver, where all three freshmen - Emonee Spence, Devante Peete and Jaylen Smith - could all see time. Also heavily in the mix are talented transfers, Ja'Quay Savage and Jamari Staples. Junior James Quick is lone veteran with significant playing time.
"That's a position where I think we recruited really well, in regards to our freshmen," he said. "If you add Ja'Quay and Jamari in the new group of receivers, then you looking at a really talented new group of receivers that we have."
Watch the video below for all of McGee's comments.