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Louisville Football Mailbag Part Two

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Part two of the football mailbag takes a look at some specific position groups.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed part one of the mailbag you should check it out. Pat two gets a bit more into position groups and how the new staff can help change the culture. Let’s get to it:

This is the key to the entire season, in my opinion. If Louisville’s offensive line can show improvement, the entire team will see a big benefit. If the line struggles like they did last season every area will be impacted. It’s not that simple but it is that serious. This offense will strive to control the ball with the running game while manufacturing big plays in the passing game off of that running game. Those two things will help the defense because they won’t be on the field all the time and the offense should be able to put points on the board.

In my opinion, we will see a much improved line with the addition of Dwayne Ledford as well as T.J. McCoy. Center is the most important position along the line and it was the worst position for UofL last season. McCoy is a veteran center who has played at a high level against very good competition. With him in the middle, I think that Ledford will have the key piece he needs to get his five best guys in a position to play as one unit. The zone scheme they will be using has to have everyone moving and working as one and the calls up front have to be on point. McCoy should be a major improvement when it comes to just that.

Ledford is obviously the key. His line at NC State improved dramatically in his first year and ended up being one of best in the country by the time he left. I think that if he has a healthy group this season he can lead them to the same type of improvement. Having Mekhi Becton, Robbie Bell, McCoy, Cole Bentley, and Caleb Chandler is a good start as all of those guys have played and they have all shown some promise. The issue is that the only help they have as a backup right now is Adonis Boone who didn’t play much last year.

The first group has strong potential to be exactly what this offense and team needs but they would likely be in serious trouble if they had an injury or two.

I tend to be defensive minded so this question is an easy yes for me. Could you imagine the schemes that defensive coordinators would have to design to account for the extra field space? Out routes would be a whole different thing when you don’t have to worry about the sideline. You also could find yourself trapped if you run down the sideline before the 50 yard line.

So do coordinators play coverages where they put guys outside the outside receivers so that they can’t exploit that extra space? Does the middle of the field become wide open because the field is so spread out? Do they have to change the rules so that you get to add more defenders in between the 40 yard lines or something? What if they set up some weird scoring opportunity at the outside points of the hexagon like some sort of Rock N’ Jock extra point system? The possibilities are endless.

I won’t like and say that there haven't’ been times where I wasn’t completely sold on the new direction of the program but I find myself going back to the very first interview of a player after the Satterfield hire. TreSean Smith pointed out how the new staff was holding players accountable. You could see the relief on his face when he said it, too. As if he was hoping for a truly new direction and he finally had proof that things were going to be better this year.

It stood out to me because Scott Satterfield has said all of the right things and we have all seen some of the fun things that the team does now. But, Smith’s words were so important because it showed that players want discipline and they want consequences when rules are broken. Hell, the second story about accountability that came out was that the entire defense had to run because one guy was late for a lift. We’re all getting a good look at how a coaching staff can hold guys accountable while also being a player-first program.

It also stood out to me that Satterfield pointed out how low of a bar they’ve set for players when he talked about some of the recent transfers. Some guys just don’t want to be a part of a program with strict rules on going to class and being on time for things. Plenty of programs aren’t strict when it comes to those types of things and they win a lot of games. That’s just not how this staff does things. But I do wonder how many of the young guys on the team were set up for failure by the previous staff. Being on time and showing up to mandatory things is not hard and it just seems crazy that some of these guys wouldn’t be willing or able to buy into these requirements under a new staff. But if you start your career with a free pass on everything, it would probably be hard to make such a drastic change.

This is a really tough question to answer because no group in particular stood out to me in the spring showcase and a bunch of guys weren’t out there. My gut says that the cornerbacks will shine because Bryan Brown is such a high level coach. On the other hand, it seemed like the offensive line played pretty well even though they had multiple walk-ons playing. That leads me to think that maybe the scheme/coaching will help that group more than the others.

The sleeper possibility is the defensive line. They have the most experience and they have such a huge role in how the entire defense plays. Satterfield specifically mentioned G.G. Robinson when he was asked about a guy who would benefit from the new scheme. If Robinson can be half as disruptive as MyQuon Stout was for App State last year, he could end up being the MVP of the defense. Amonte Caban is another guy that got a specific mention from Coach Satt. Caban is one of the handful of guys that “fit” the new system better than anything they ran under Bobby Petrino. His effort level and burst off the ball will be great for the defense. With those guys as well as guys like Tabarius Peterson and Ja’Darien Boykin, I think this group could surprise everyone.