Louisville Football had seven scholarship Offensive Linemen on the roster in 2019 that were on the roster in 2018. While that group returned four guys who had plenty of game experience, it also included one backup with game experience, and that player, T.J. McCoy had lost his starting job which led to him transferring in the first place. Scott Satterfield and staff are now in a position where they really have to make choices on who deserves to start.
Lousiville got some good news after last season when Cole Bentley decided to return to school for his extra season of eligibility. Bentley has been a mainstay on the interior of Lousiville’s offensive line and his 40 career games give him the experience you want at the Center position. This will be his third year in the offense and you have to feel good about the potential of the line taking a big step forward with him making the calls.
Bryan Hudson has been listed as the backup at Center this summer but he will likely be the backup at all three interior positions. Hudson has been viewed as a starter by Scott Satterfield which says a lot about how the staff must feel about the projected starting five. Hudson has versatility and is an athletic player who has performed well as a Track & Field athlete. I would expect him to see the field plenty this season.
Caleb Chandler was a player that I thought would have a breakout year last season but it just didn’t happen for whatever reason. Chandler played well in 2019 next to Mechi Becton but apparently playing next to a mutant of a football player can make you look a bit better than when you’re not playing next to said mutant. However, I think Chandler will have a good season and show that he is a high-level lineman who should get some recognition from media and the analytics folks.
On the other side at Right Guards, Adonis Boone will try to show that he’s a better fit on the inside after having some struggles at Left Tackle last season. In my opinion, Boone was a prime example of the lack of depth Lousiville had up front. He is a good player who is probably better suited to play inside, but they didn’t have an option to replace him at Tackle. This year, they have more players to work with and Boone should be in a better position to succeed.
The other player that we should see as a backup at the Guard spots is Luke Kandra. He came to Louisville with a strong profile as a recruit but he didn’t make it on the field last season. At 6-4/309, Kandra has grown into his frame and has been mentioned as one of the top eight guys that UofL feels comfortable playing. While he may be at the bottom of that list at this point, I think he should see the field if Lousiville decides to go with a true rotation this year.
Renato Brown returns as the starter at Right Tackle this year after being the primary starter last season. Brown had some “freshman” moments last season but he was one of the first players that Louisville made available to the media this summer which tells me that he has matured into his role. Brown has obvious talent and my hope is that he can truly tap into that talent and become a consistent player for this offense.
The guy that has been mentioned most often by the coaching staff has been Trevor Reid. After getting a bunch of attention online last summer after doing a backflip at 6-5/285 pounds, Reid has put on about 20 pounds and he looks like he has no fat on his body. Reid may be the biggest factor in how this offense performs as he is essentially the only change from last season. Lousiville had a very rough time protecting Malik Cunningham last season so adding a guy to the group who could be even close to Mechi Becton on a bad day would be very helpful.
Michael Gonzalez will be your likely backup at the Tackle positions as the staff really likes him and he has been mentioned in that group of eight. I would also expect the staff to feel pretty good about playing Austin Collins and Joshua Black if push comes to shove. Both played against Wake Forest last season and played well after struggling early in the game.
Trevor Reid feels like the right choice here but I actually think Renato Brown will be the guy to have a big year. UofL had a choice to play him as a freshman last year or play a veteran in Cam DeGeorge. they obviously see something in him as he was the starter and he showed some real promise. I think that another year in the offense as well as another year to work on his body will get him to that potential that the staff sees in him.