The University of Louisville offensive line had its ups and downs last season.
The Cardinals struggled in the trenches early in the season but seemingly got better as the year went on. But if you looked close at the roster it was understandable because the Cardinals virtually had no experience on the line.
Aaron Epps, who graduated, and current senior center Tobijah Hughley were the only players on the line with any experience. True freshman Geron Christian started all 13 games and redshirt freshman Lukayus McNeil started nine.
"We never used that as a crutch," U of L offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Chris Klenakis said. "We went to work every day and got better, and now we just want to pick up where we left off after our bowl game."
U of L coach Bobby Petrino said the line "made a lot of improvements throughout the season," and now a week into fall camp and the Cardinals' coaches are excited about the depth and potential of this offensive line.
Hughley, Christian and McNeil are mainstays, while former junior-college players Khalil Hunter and Kiola Mahoni are also expected to get a lot of snaps in their second seasons with the Cardinals. Sophomores Kenny Thomas and Danny Burns and JUCO transfer Linwood Foy give the Cardinals some needed added depth on the front line.
As for Klenakis, he's pumped not to have to be going slow for all the youth in camp.
"It’s a heck of a lot different than last year," he said. "You aren’t re-teaching every day. You’re able to pick up and continue the progressions, and start the next day where you finished before. It makes it a lot better for us as a unit."
Klenakis mentioned having about nine players who could see time in the rotation but said he wasn't close to naming a starting five.
"We just have to keep getting better every day," he said.
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