Louisville Football surprised the football world last year by finishing 8-5 while having one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Dwayne Ledford called the offense “vanilla”, however. Ledford and Scott Satterfield relied on a much improved Micale Cunningham who seemed to improve as each game went by. Cunningham had a magnificent performance in the Music City Bowl that reminded some of Lamar Jackson’s breakout game in 2015 against Texas A&M.
Cunningham will enter the season as the unquestioned starter and with the coaches praising his improved confidence, he should have access to an expanded offensive system. Micale showed last year that he was much more than a runner and I believe he will only become more comfortable in the pocket this season.
Micale could improve on his ability to spread the ball around. He had a tendency to look for Tutu Atwell in obvious passing situations but I think we should see that change this year. Louisville’s offense was built around making an easy decision and taking that option. I think we’ll see the offense add more options for Micale in these situations and I think they’ll call more plays to hit the Tight Ends and Running Backs. Just involving more guys will only help build Cunningham’s confidence in more guys.
The backup job is still up for grabs with Jawon Pass back from injury and Evan Conley earning valuable experience last season. I’d imagine that Pass has the inside track as a senior as well as someone who won the job last year. while he didn’t get to show us much last year, he did really well running the football and facilitating the short play action pass game. He was still much too inconsistent throwing the football down the field and in obvious passing situations. It’s fair to wonder if those issues ever improve.
Conley played well in the backup role last year considering he was a true freshman. He had a solid command of the offense but it was quite obvious that the staff had limited the playbook they would utilize when he was in the game. Conley had some issues leading the offense from a running standpoint. Teams knew they could make him uncomfortable, so they committed more players to stop the run. One has to wonder if Conley would have more freedom to use his legs with a deeper Quarterback room this year. That could help the run game when he plays.
The last thing Louisville fans want to see this year is Tee Webb entering a game with a score within four touchdowns this season. That would likely mean that injuries have forced him into the game which would be not great, obviously. Webb should be ready to compete for the starting job when Micale Cunningham moves on but, for now, he’s best suited to sit and learn the offense.
The Quarterback position was a huge question mark heading into last season. The fact that it’s a position of strength in year two says a lot about the developmental chops of this coaching staff. We saw Micale Cunningham improve as the season went on and we could see an even better QB this fall.