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Louisville Football Mailbag Part One

Basketball is over so it’s football season again for this guy.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball season is officially over so there’s no better time to talk about football than right now. Let’s jump right in.

This is an interesting question. Pass was so incredibly inconsistent last year that it’s almost impossible to feel that he is truly that four star recruit that participated in Elite 11 camps. But we all saw him throw the ball very well in mop up duty behind Lamar Jackson. It’s just so hard to know which guy he truly is. The Alabama game makes me think that he could be a solid to good quarterback but I also watched the WKU and UVA games.

To answer the question, I think that Pass would’ve led the App State team to the same record. The overall team was so good last year and they didn’t have to rely on great quarterback play. They got very good play out of that spot when Zac Thomas was healthy but it was all a part of a healthy football team that had great balance. The defense dominated people and their running game made everything easier for Thomas. I think that Pass could manage that schedule pretty well even though games would have probably been closer.

This is where the potential lies for the 2019 Louisville team. If they can get the running game going, the quarterback position doesn’t have to be so great. If they defense can force turnovers and three-and-outs, the quarterback position gets more opportunities to move the ball and score points. If the offensive line can execute and protect well, the quarterback position is able to play with a higher level of comfort and confidence. It all comes down to the “ifs”. They didn’t have those “ifs” at App State last year.

Perfect transition into this question. App State relied on two quarterbacks to lead them to the vast majority of the success they saw under Scott Satterfield. Taylor Lamb was entrenched at the spot for four years and then Zac Thomas came in and took the position a step forward.

To me, the best way to get a feel for how Satterfield will handle who plays is by looking at the other positions on the field. App State relied on one key running back with a second guy to take some of the workload off of the main guy. They also typically played their top three wide receivers and their top two tight ends. Some of that might be due to a lack of competent depth, but they seemed to stick with those guys even with a lead.

Based on Satterfield’s comments and from what I saw in the spring I really think that Satterfield feels good about having Pass as his starter and I think he’ll stick with him. Malik Cunningham just hasn’t shown enough as a passer and hi running ability isn’t enough for this new system. It really wasn’t enough last year, but it did provide a spark when they needed it. With the offense likely improving, I can’t see the staff going in that direction.

Also, Evan Conley won’t likely be the guy unless the season goes off the rails and they’re out of bowl contention early. At that point it would make sense to work towards the future.

By my count, Louisville has 7 open spots on the roster right now. With that number being so high, I don’t see them filling them all with transfers. I do see them taking on at least four more guys that will be eligible in the upcoming season. While Satterfield seems to be completely content with Jawon Pass as his starter, I don’t see any way that they don’t make a run at a grad transfer quarterback in the next month or so once spring semesters start ending around the country. They only have 3 scholarship quarterbacks on campus right now and even from a purely competitive standpoint that doesn’t work.

I also think that Louisville is going to be selective in who they take. Chris Cunningham is a capable tight end that visited Louisville after transferring from Virginia Tech but he is headed to Old Dominion. He’s not a guy that saw the field much in Blacksburg but he would have at least been a body that they could use here and he would have had a chance to compete for a starting job. I find it hard to believe that he’s headed to ODU because that was a better spot for him as opposed to UofL not seeing him as a contributor.

Satterfield and his staff also have a few spots that they can fill above the normal 25 spots in a recruiting class next year. Three guys signed early so they will have those three spots to add to the next class. That’s 26 spots for the 2020 class if all of my math is right (I failed math in high school). 16 guys should be graduating and they have 7 open spots right now. Add in the 3 guys that count towards the previous class and they should have a full class plus one.

In my personal opinion, I think that they look for those four or so guys that can help this year but they save the rest for the next recruiting class or for guys that will have to sit. They will also likely lose another handful of players after the spring semester ends because some guys will graduate and want to go somewhere they can play. So all of these numbers will likely change soon, anyway.

A few months ago I would have easily answered Hassan Hall to this question but it really seems like they like Javian Hawkins a lot. App State typically had a “guy” that was the feature back but then got 100 carries or so out of a backup. I don’t see that changing here unless there’s an injury. I couldn’t be happier, either. I’ve been begging for Louisville to have a feature back for years and they should finally go that route.

Hawkins has been featured a lot in some of the videos that have been posted online and he has been mentioned a few times by strength coach Mike Sirigano in his tweets highlighting players that are showing out in workouts. The big thing with this new scheme is being able to understand how to read blocks as well as being quick enough to hit the hole when it opens up. I really think that they will go with the guy that does those things the best.

So, for me, I think we will see Hassan Hall be “the guy” but Hawkins will get a lot of carries. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Dae Williams push his way onto the field. He’s a smart kid who shouldn’t have an issue picking up the playbook and the blocking schemes. He is also one of the guys that looked the part during the spring showcase.