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The Cardinal Countdown: 72 Days Until Kickoff

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NCAA Football: Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#72 Lukayus McNeil

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-6/300

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Twitter: @lukayus

Thoughts: After the bowl game wrapped up last year the offensive line was the one position group I was most interested in when it came to who would stay and who would go heading into 2018. We had a couple guys who I felt were just as gone as Lamar and Jaire and another one that was a tossup. After the craziness wound down and the dust settled the Cards were really only one man down as Geron Christian made the decision to stay in the draft (a good call as he was a 3rd round pick) and Kenny Thomas and McNeil decided to come back. Lukayus told folks back in February that he felt he had some unfinished business at UofL. Playing a full season at a position where he feels more comfortable (guard), blocking for a new QB, and competing another year to try and win a ‘fat ass ring’…with a few Cardinal colored diamonds, all pulled Lukayus back to The Ville to “work on his craft”.

McNeil will undoubtedly be a leader along the front lines this season as the majority of the starters and backups will only be first or second year players, so Coach Summers and Petrino will rely on him to show the young guys just how much work it takes to be a starter and a (projected) team captain. For those who don’t remember, just two seasons ago the O-line was quite the lemon, getting beat consistently off the edge, up the middle, and not creating much push in the run game either. You hate to put everyone in a position group under the same umbrella but frankly…they stunk. McNeil, Thomas, and Christian were the first wave of talent to come in and try and beef up the O-lines performance and in my opinion they did a good job. We still had struggles in 2015 and 2016 but things improved enough that we found love for those guys who were showing improvement and knew we would be under a new and proven coach in 2017 (Where have you been Coach Summers? We missed you).

As we enter 2018 McNeil is going to be back at guard and doing his best to give Puma about four, five seconds of time back in the pocket. With help from Bentley, Bection, Bell, and Thomas in the starting group and backup help from Foy, Bateman, and others I think the O-line (deep breath) may be the best position group on the roster in terms of depth and talent. If we have to break in a new QB and a RB that has never carried a full load I’d want it to be behind these guys. Hopefully at the end of the year McNeil can take a bow and get a well deserved ovation for helping turn this group completely around and not letting the offense take a step back after losing a Heisman trophy winning quarterback.

***

Game 7: Boston College Golden Eagles

Key Player: Patrick Towles (hahaha) AJ Dillon, Running Back, Sophomore

I only made the Towles joke above to keep myself from crying thinking about Sophomore AJ Dillon get another crack at Louisville. I can still see him in my dreams to this day carving up the Cardinal defense from my seat in the end zone, alternating my gaze between him and Sirmon trying to understand why this freshman was suddenly the reincarnation of Barry Sanders on a brisk Saturday afternoon in Louisville. He hadn’t cracked over 58 yards against a Power 5 team all year and then he ran wild for over 270 yards and 4 touchdowns for only the Eagles third win of the year at that time. New year, new coach, new defense…but Dillon will be ready to roll I’m sure. If the Cards can’t slow him down any better than they did in 2017 it will be a long day in Chestnut Hill.

Sweet Tweet:

That tweet reminds of that overly aggressive song ‘B*tch Better Have my Money’ a few years ago by Rihanna. She’s had some other decent songs over the years from what I remember. Actually....some of those song titles may very well be in the post above! [maniacal laugh]

Welcome back to the hidden song challenge. Can you, without the aid of the Google machine, find the TEN (wow, TEN songs CardinalStrong that’s amazing, why thank you me) Rihanna song titles hidden in the post above? Winner gets 4,417 Chron points to spend in the Card Chronicle store when it opens at some point in the new three-fours years (I can only throw out arbitrary non-existant timelines when Mike is on vacation). Good Luck.