By Jody Demling - Cardinal Authority

Cardinals Authority provides a closer look at the Louisville special teams position

Cardinal Authority is running a position series as a preseason football feature to help you get familiar with the entire University of Louisville roster. Our final installment provides a look at the Cardinals special teams.

OVERVIEW

It's the position with the biggest question marks on the Louisville Cardinals football team.

Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said he's been pleased with the competition at special teams but noted coming out of fall camp the starting kicker and punter positions are still up in the air.

"They are still competing," Petrino said.

Petrino said redshirt freshman Mason King and true freshman Austin Johnson were still battling for the punting position, but noted King had been a little more consistent in the final stages of fall camp.

Johnson, a former star at DeSales, was brought in on a scholarship. King is a walk on from St. Xavier, who the staff said during the spring pushed Josh Appleby last season before the veteran won the position.

The replacement for John Wallace at kicker is also still up in the air. Sophomore Evan O'Hara is from Florence, Ky., while redshirt freshman Blanton Creque is from Shelbyville. Both have separated themselves from the others in the competition.

Petrino said after the final scrimmage that O'Hara was in front a little, but then Creque was said to have had a really good final week.

"They've both had good days, and they're limiting their bad days," Petrino said.

Colin Holba will again be the long snapper for the Cardinals.

The return game is loaded with talent for the Cardinals, including Jaire AlexanderTraveon SamuelReggie Bonnafon and Seth Dawkins among others, Petrino said he's "really excited" about that group.

BREAKOUT PERFORMER

Blanton Creque, Redshirt freshman

Creque hasn't won the job yet but we think it won't be long until he's the main guy.

The former Collins High School star has a good leg and is super consistent, which makes Petrino happy. In high school, Creque hit 7 of 11 field goals as a senior and made 21 for his career. He went 182 of 189 on extra points.

Creque turned down an offer to walk-on at Florida and was solid in the spring. We think he's the guy for the Cardinals.

SLEEPER

Anthony George, Senior

A graduate student, George is a former Trinity High School soccer player who has been at U of L for a few years. He wasn't around prior to fall camp but came back out when a spot on the roster opened up.

For a while, it looked like George might win the entire kicking duties but fell off in the final weeks of camp. We think he will be the kickoff guy for Louisville and has a strong leg for just that folks.

EXTRA POINTS

----Not one player in the mix has made a kick or punt for U of L in a live game heading into the season.

----King and Johnson were both All-State punters and both came in with lofty credentials.

----Holba started every game last season as the long snapper after Grant Donovan - who didn't miss a snap in four years - graduated following the 2014 season. Holba was really good as a first-year starter.

----Patrick Soucy from Russell has also been in the kicking battle, along with freshman Austin Laszewski.


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