Offensive line coach Mike Summers "> Offensive line coach Mike Summers ">

Continuity, experience keys for offensive line

"I hate to use the word potential because that means you haven't done it yet but if we continue the direction we're going we've got a chance to be a good offensive line." - <b>Offensive line coach Mike Summers</b>

With three returning starters from unit that gave up just twelve sacks and opened holes for University of Louisville running backs to rush for more than 2,000 yards during the 2003 season, Mike Summers' offensive front figures to be a major strength of an explosive offensive unit.

This spring, Summers main task has been to incorporate two new starters, Will Rabbatin (6'3, 315) and Kurt Quarterman (6'5, 355), with returnees Jason Spitz, Renardo Foster and Travis Leffew to form a cohesive and effective unit.

To this point, the process appears headed for success.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Summers said. "We've got two new guys in that group and it takes a while for all those guys to mesh together. I'm encouraged by their attitude but we've got along way to go from a technical standpoint."

Rabbatin, who replaces center Dan Koons and Quarterman, who has stepped in for Jerry Spencer at guard, have enjoyed a productive spring.

"Will has waited his turn," Summers said. "And he's ready to play. He's done a good job so far directing those guys up front because he basically set up what we do."

"Kurt has got a ton of talent," Summers continued. "I need to do a better job of helping him with his technique. If we make strides in that area, he'll be a very good player."

With perhaps one of the biggest, if not the most talented offensive fronts in U of L history, it will be interesting to find out if this group can exceed the results of last season's line.

"I think that remains to be seen," Summers said. "Certainly we've got some talented players returning and we've added two pretty talented players. I hate to use the word potential because that means you haven't done it yet but if we continue the direction we're going we've got a chance to be a good offensive line."

Besides building the cohesion of the first unit, one of Summers' other major charges this spring has been developing his unit's depth. With players like junior college transfer Jeremy Darveau (6'7, 320), sophomores Mike Sturgeon (6'4, 295) and P.J. Tavarsky (6'4, 305), and redshirt freshman Danny Barlow (6'5, 285), there's no shortage of talented players behind the first unit.

"There's a lot of question marks there in terms of experience," Summers explained. "So those guys are still trying to develop and they've still got some work to do. But there's some talented players in that group as well."

Darveau, who has seen extensive action as the number two tackle, figures to be a factor next season, though he's had to adjust to the intensity and pace U of L's coaches demand.

"I've been pleased with him so far," Summers said of the former University of Kentucky lineman. "This is a different intensity level than he's used to and he has responded well to what we've asked him to do. He's got several areas where he's got to improve but I can see him factoring into our group next year."

Before spring practice, there was some discussion about moving around some of the returning starters and trying them at different positions. However, Summers' indicated that's not likely to happen.

"I think one of the things that made us good last year was that we stayed relatively injury free and we were able to keep the same five guys in there," Summers explained. "We'll be a better line if we don't have to move guys around."

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