Foster emerging on Cards young O-Line
Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Renardo Foster quickly made an impact on the improved offensive front last Sunday in Lexington.
Paving the way for over 240 yards rushing by the Cardinal ground attack and keeping quarterback Stefan LeFors untouched most of the night, Foster and his linemates were key reasons for U of L's 40-24 victory in the season opener against Kentucky.
And the 6'6, 310 pound rookie from Ripley, TN didn't appear nervous making his first start in a hostile environment like Commonwealth Stadium.
"It was good," Foster said of his first start. "Starting as a freshman, I figured I would be nervous but I really wasn't. I just went out there and played good and did a good job."
Foster said the U of L coaches had the UK defense scouted well and that preparation made the offensive line's job much easier against the experienced Wildcat front.
"We studied them pretty well and when we got out there on the field they seemed like they had a bunch of blitzes but they didn't throw too much at us," Foster said of the UK defense. "We stopped most of the blitzes they threw at us and from then on it was man on man."
On the game's opening drive, the Cardinal offense went 80 yards downfield, capped by Eric Shelton's six yard touchdown run. The drive provided a lead the Cards never reliquished and gave the offense confidence it could run the ball effectively against the Wildcats.
"Yeah, that was important," Foster said of the opening drive. "We're a young offensive line with Spitz, Leffew and myself and we went up there as underdogs but we came out on top."
For an offense that didn't generate much on the ground last season and struggled to protect its quarterback, which it did extremely well on both counts last Sunday, the reason for improvement appears to be coaching and execution.
"The guys just know what they're supposed to be doing," Foster said of the difference in the line's play from last year. "Coach Petrino's got this offense set up to score points and everybody's got a big role in this offense, the running backs, offensive line, receivers and quarterbacks."
Foster's opposite, sophomore offensive tackle Travis Leffew, thinks Renardo's adjustment from the defensive line to offensive tackle has been quicker for the redshirt freshman than was his own adjustment last year.
"He's learning it faster than I did when I moved to the offensive line," Leffew said. "He's big and he's fast and we're glad to have him."
Foster, an excellent athlete with tremendous size, speed and quickness, promises great things on the line in the future and has drawn praise not only from his fellow offensive linemates but also from U of L Offensive Line Coach Mike Summers.
"Renardo Foster is an amazing athlete," Summers said. "To be 6'6 and 310 pounds and run a 4.74 forty is almost unheard of."
With Kentucky now in the past, Foster and the Cards have begun preparations for their road trip this weekend to Syracuse, where they'll take on the Big East's Orangemen. Foster seems confident heading into the game against Syracuse and thinks UK's defense might have presented a more difficult challenge than will the Orange.
"It's not as hard as Kentucky," Foster said of Syracuse defense. "Kentucky had a bunch of blitzes coming at us. Syracuse moves around a lot and down shifts their linemen but we'll be ready for that."