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Louisville Football Mailbag: Part 1

North Carolina State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Football season is right around the corner so I figured it would be a good time to post another mailbag. The plan as of now is to continue doing the mailbag each week during the season. If you’re not a twitter user feel free to email me at I’ll also do my best to answer any questions in the comments. Let’s get to it.

No way to really sugarcoat this. Louisville’s offensive line has some very real questions going into this year and there is a good chance that it could be next season before they are able to answer those questions. The staff took over an offensive line that had to replace three starters from a bad group and they really didn’t have many other options outside of playing the guys that couldn’t get on the field last year. That’s obviously not a good situation to take over. But, I tend to think that this group will be a solid improvement over the starting group from last year if they can stay healthy.

Mekhi Becton should be able to show off his athletic ability in this zone blocking scheme and I think he can combine with Caleb Chandler to set up a good run blocking tandem. I aldso think that the other guys on the line are better suited for this offense than they were for Petrino’s. Cole Bentley played in a run heavy offense where he had to get outside and take on blockers. Robbie Bell moving away from center could be a positive and he probably should have been on the field last season anyway. Plus you have T.J. McCoy as a guy who brings a veteran presence and a potential upgrade at center. Tyler Haycraft is the wildcard to me as he hasn’t been on the field much. I’m interested to see who the five are but I think any combination is an upgrade. Unfortunately, that’s not saying all that much.

I hate predictions but I think betting the over on the Vegas line is pretty safe. Louisville shouldn’t have any trouble with WKU or EKU. Western is the bigger question out of the two but the team should be coming off of a big win and Nashville is a short trip that should double as more of a home game as opposed to a neutral sight game. Getting two other wins is the big question but if this coaching staff is worth anything they should be able to get there.

Louisville will face three other teams with new quarterbacks. You also have Miami and UK with quarterback concerns even with starters coming back. Boston College has to replace four offensive linemen from their very good line. Virginia lost their best offensive weapon outside of Bryce Perkins. UK has the issue of having to replace Snell. That’s just the offensive issues some of the teams face. There are more than enough questions surrounding the teams on the schedule to warrant the belief that Louisville could steal two games.

I haven’t started watching ND games to prep for the opener yet, but I think this situation would be viewed as a good sign by Louisville fans as long as the offense shows up. Notre Dame’s offense is very good and it has a lot of experience coming back across the board. They’ll be breaking in a new center, a tight end, a running back, and an outside receiver but they’ve recruited well at those spots and should be good to go. If the defense can hold that offense under 30, it would likely be able to handle any of the other offenses on the schedule outside of Clemson.

The bigger question to me in this hypothetical is how the offense would do. A 27-14 loss to any team coming off of a playoff finish is a huge positive for what the season could bring. Louisville has only kept it under 13 points seven times since joining the ACC. Moral victories suck, but they’ll have real meaning this season.

So there was the rumor that Missouri had hired Petrino earlier this summer but that turned out to be just a rumor as he was apparently just visiting Garrick McGee. I do think it’s somewhat telling that even the people that at least felt that they were close to him haven’t even heard from him. I think that’s a good way to judge the question of if he will coach again also. Petrino never really left a positive impression on anyone I knew who worked or dealt with him during his first stint. The few interactions I had with him were also awkward and obviously uncomfortable for him. But, I don’t think there’s some deeper issues that he had that some have looked to to explain his behavior. I think he was just a guy who only knew how to be a dick and didn’t ever learn how to treat people in any other way.

Because he treated people so poorly, he has never made a lot of friends in the industry and therefore, no one has heard anything at all from or about him. Eric Wood mentioned that he could see Petrino become an offensive consultant in the NFL and I’d have to agree that that would be the most likely landing spot for him. It would be an opportunity for him to bring his offensive knowledge to a team without having to do any of the coaching and leading. I don’t think that Petrino ever enjoyed all that came with being a head coach and that came to a head last year. A consultant role would be a solid way to still be a part of the game while trying to figure out how to spend 14 million dollars.