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The Cardinal Countdown: 36 Days Until Kickoff

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights v Louisville Cardinals

#36 Maurice Buckley

Class: RS Freshman

Ht/Wt: 5-9/200

Position: Running back

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Twitter: @Stymie_G_70

Thoughts: Buckley was a walk-on for the Cards’ last season looking to providing some much needed depth at the running back position. Out of Matea Valley High School up in Illinois Buckley racked up some solid numbers his senior season and caught the eye of the staff here at Louisville. You can see from his tape he has some shiftiness about him, he’s got some speed, and because he also played a little safety he does shy away from contact…

As you get older you learn that sometimes life is just about taking an opportunity given to you and making the most of it. Buckley likely would have seen very few reps back in the Spring Game under normal circumstances, but fortunately for him three of the backs expected to see the lion share of the work load this season were all held out due to injuries. No Dae Williams, no Colin Wilson, and no Trey Smith meant some other young guys got a chance to show what they could do. We already talked about Tobias Little last week making the most of his time, and in my opinion Buckley seized the opportunity as well. His final numbers won’t blow anyone away (13car/26yd)(2rec/14yds) but a few negative yardage plays impacted his overall performance on the day. A couple nice runs and a couple solid catches out of the backfield had a few folks wondering who the new guy was back in April, and according to Petrino there may be a few more looking up his number as the season rolls around. While I wouldn’t expect Buckley to get a lot of live reps at RB this season unless the Cards get dinged up once again, Petrino said he was showing his talent on the coverage team making a few big plays during practice and catching the attention of the staff.

As of today, with the shift of Malik Staples, the Cards currently have nine running backs and two fullbacks on the roster. Of those eleven guys only 3 are upperclassmen and there are zero seniors from an eligibility standpoint. That of course doesn’t include the talent they have lined up in 2019. The position is crowded but the fact that a single back hasn’t distanced himself from the others means the competition will be fierce this season into next. While I certainly hope it doesn’t get to that point the injuries seem to have have struck this group the hardest in seasons past, and players like Buckley, Little, Graves, and others may need to have their helmet at the ready.

Sweet Tweet: Not much going on in the twitter universe for Buckley so feel free to check out this post I found interesting from Phil Steele, specifically related to the returning starters for each team in college football. The Cards slide in at 105th (yikes) nationally and 13th in the ACC (double yikes) with only 11 returning starters on both sides of the ball. The stats do not bode well over time for teams with fewer than eleven starters coming back who are also not returning their starting QB, a trend the Cards will hope to change in 2018.


#36 Evan O’Hara

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-0/213

Position: Kicker

Hometown: Florence, KY

Twitter: N/A

Thoughts: O’Hara went from battling for the starting gig at kicker to a somewhat forgotten one two season later (ahh, the life of a special teams player). O’Hara should have no shame in losing the kicking completion to guy who may go down as the most accurate kicker in school history (Creque) but O’ Hara isn’t holding back. From the practice reports last year through spring drills this season, Evan has been consistently kicking the ball well and impressing the staff with his leg every time they roll the ball out.

O’Hara got a few reps last season kicking the ball off against Cuse and Kentucky and in the Spring game he drilled a 22 yarder and 40 yarder with no issue. While I may have a slight man crush on Creque I respect what O’Hara is doing out there daily. As cliché as it may be one play is all it takes to thrust Evan into a pressure packed situation, whether it be kicking game winners against FSU or hitting 34 straight extra points. Having an experienced player who doesn’t show any sign of taking it easy in practice is who I want filling that void, and O’ Hara it appears, can fill my void…well, not “my” void, I mean the team void..…I mean not the whole team, just the special teams unit void… not unit as in “unit” but like the position…..I mean, uh…..crap. He’s good okay. He’s good.

Sweet Tweet: No tweets for Evan, so since he is the last kicker on this year’s countdown let’s check out some kicker trick shots..…it’s the last Friday of the month, what else you plan on doing today? Working? Hahahaha.

P.S. Since no one is wearing #35 this year I want to wish my beautiful wife Mrs. CardinalStrong an early ‘Happy Anniversary’ for tomorrow. Just like Mr. O’Hara....she fills my voids.