While the majority of true freshman offensive linemen spend their initial year at college as a redshirt, especially in a Power 5 Conference, Louisville's front featured a pair of rookies in 2015. Kenny Thomas and Lukayus McNeil both registered starts for the Cardinals last fall and now with a year of experience, along with an off season of conditioning behind them, the pair are focused on making the front five one the team's strongest assets in 2016.
"We're moving a lot faster," said Thomas following Tuesday's two-hour practice session.
The pair will practicing alongside each other this spring, with Thomas at tackle and McNeil at guard. Following a season that provided excellent experience, it also came with its share of struggles that we frequently pointed out by the pundits and fans.
"We didn't really pay attention to it and just focused on us," the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Thomas said. "We knew we'd get better as the season came along, so we just focused on us and our technique."
McNeil, who measures 6-foot-6, 315-pounds, agrees that the experience and added focus during the off season will have the unit better prepared to handle the demands of an ACC schedule.
"I think we can be the best in the nation," he said. "My coach (Chris Klenakis) has always told us that, 'we're going to drive the train.' It starts with the offensive linemen. Ever since he said that it's been in my mind. Since it starts with the offensive line, I think we are going to be the best in the nation."
Louisville will hold another open practice on Wednesday at 3:50p.m.