2009 Louisville Preview - Offense
Louisville WR Trent Guy
Louisville WR Trent Guy
Posted Jul 20, 2009

CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Louisville Cardinal Offense

Louisville Cardinals

Preview 2009 - Offense

- 2009 CFN Louisville Preview | 2009 Louisville Offense
- 2009 Louisville Defense | 2009 Louisville Depth Chart
- 2008 UofL Preview | 2007 UofL Preview | 2006 UofL Preview

What you need to know: Head coach Steve Kragthorpe took a bold step toward controlling his own fate, taking over the play-calling duties and becoming his own offensive coordinator. Priority No. 1 for the coach and the program will be to find a capable quarterback to replace Hunter Cantwell. There’s an abundance of good arms, but not a lick of experience. The attack will be centered on RB Victor Anderson, who exploded for over 1,000 yards as a freshman and has big-play potential. If WR Scott Long can rebound from last year’s ACL tear and perform like an all-star, it’ll be a windfall for whichever quarterback winds up at the top of the depth chart. The offensive line won’t be the same without C Eric Wood, one of the best linemen to ever play at the school

Returning Leaders
Passing: Tyler Wolfe
2-4, 14 yds
Rushing: Victor Anderson
183 carries, 1,047 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Doug Beaumont
62 catches, 750 yds

Star of the offense: RB Victor Anderson
Player who has to step up and become a star: Whoever wins the four-man battle at quarterback
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman C Mario Benavides
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Scott Long
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Anderson  2) Long  3) Junior WR Doug Beaumont
Strength of the offense: Athleticism at the skill positions
Weakness of the offense: Inexperience under center


Projected Starter: Three very different quarterbacks have their sights set on one very important job. Hunter Cantwell did a poor job of replacing Brian Brohm, so he is replaceable. The contenders are junior-college transfer Adam Froman, North Carolina State transfer Justin Burke, and redshirt freshman Zack Stoudt. Froman is interesting because no one in these parts has seen him in action. While still somewhat raw, the 6-3, 217-pound late-bloomer is coming off a terrific season at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, where he threw for 40 touchdowns and almost 4,000 yards. Completely ignored coming out of high school, he was a wideout two years ago and has good speed.

Burke is returning to Kentucky, where he was the state’s Player of the Year in 2006. Although things didn’t work out in Raleigh, he still has two seasons of eligibility to fulfill lofty expectations. A 6-3, 229-pounder, he throws an accurate ball and won’t make many mental mistakes.

Projected Top Reserves: Stoudt’s the longshot, despite having considerable upside. One of the school’s top recruits of 2008, he has  good pocket presence, and at 6-4 and 215 pounds, the field vision to spot his receivers downfield.        

Watch Out For… Instability. With Brohm and Cantwell, Louisville has grown accustomed to having a veteran under center, who rarely missed snaps. Heck, even though Cantwell disappointed, he was there to start all 12 games. That won’t be the case this year, with multiple players likely to get a crack at the job, even after the season begins.                     
Strength: Arms. All of the contenders for the starting job have good size and the live arms to stretch a defense. None is smaller than 6-3 or incapable of making all of the throws that Kragthorpe will require.               
Weakness: Inexperience. Setting aside what Froman did in the junior-college ranks, Louisville doesn’t have a quarterback with any starting experience. Wolfe is the most seasoned member of the group, and he has a mere four career passing attempts.
Outlook: This is going to be a tough challenge for the Cardinals, but not impossible. There are some good, young arms in the mix, provided the competition brings out the best in all four. Heck, as long as just one of the quarterbacks performs like a Big East starter, the offense will have a chance to be pretty good.
: 6

Running Backs

Projected Starters: In sophomore Victor Anderson, Louisville has found its running back for the future. In his first year, he exploded for more than 1,000 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns, en route to being named the Big East Rookie of the Year. Despite getting the all-purpose label and being just 5-9 and 185 pounds, he’s much stronger than he looks and will carry tacklers for more yards. He’s a game-breaker and the focal point of the offense for the foreseeable future.

When the Cardinals utilize a fullback, senior Joe Tronzo will trot on to the field. A one-dimensional player at 5-11 and 246 pounds, his singular role on the offense is to open holes for the tailbacks. In three years, he’s had just two carries and three receptions.

Projected Top Reserves: Until Anderson emerged, it looked as if 6-0, 215-pound junior Bilal Powell had the inside track on the feature back role. Although he only has 99 career carries, he’s run well when his number is called, averaging more than five yards a carry. A downhill runner, who can make people miss in the open field, he ran 75 times a year ago for 354 yards and two scores.

Redshirt freshman Darius Ashley is bucking to become this year’s Anderson, an explosive rookie who demands more work once the season begins. A compact runner at 5-8 and 184 pounds, he will not shy away from contact, preferring instead to lower his shoulder and drive through would-be tacklers.

Watch Out For… Ashley. The similarities to Anderson are undeniable, including his desire to get on the field as quickly as possible. If he continues to practice well and pick up the playbook, don’t be stunned if he jumps Powell before the start of the season for the No. 2 job.   
Strength: Anderson. He started just three games as a freshman, yet still ran for more than 1,000 yards and caught 18 passes. Even better days lay ahead for a young player, who’s worked hard in the off-season and is ready to command a bigger role.        
Weakness: Size. As tough and rugged as Anderson and Ashley are, they’re still 185-pound backs, who can absorb only so much pounding. Unless Powell somehow became a feature back, the Cardinals really don’t have a runner you want carrying the ball 25 times a game.    
Outlook: With Anderson as the headliner, and Powell and Ashley lending support, Louisville is in good shape in the backfield. Considering the uncertainty at quarterback, that’s especially good news for the program. The Cards will use all three backs, making sure that Anderson gets at least 20 touches and 100 total yards of total offense a game.        
Rating: 7.5

Projected Starters: After struggling with its receiving corps a year ago, Louisville is emboldened by the return of all but two of its top pass-catchers. One of those players, senior Scott Long, is taking the long road back after suffering an ACL tear last October. Although the 6-2, 214-pounder has just nine career starts, he’s got an All-Big East upside once he gets healthy. He’s a big, physical receiver, who caught 11 balls for 201 yards and two touchdowns in his only three games. 

Stepping up when Long went down was 5-9, 183-pound junior Doug Beaumont, who began to show why he was named Kentucky’s Mr. Football in 2006. As a 12-game starter, he led the Cardinals with 62 catches for 750 yards. Both quick and tough, he’s also dangerous taking inside handoffs.

While Louisville likes to utilize the tight end, it’s going through a dry spell at the position. Junior Pete Nochta started half of last year’s games, catching nine balls for 81 and two scores, but failing to prove he can stretch a defense. At 6-5 and 244 pounds, he won’t be hard to locate for the new quarterback.

Projected Top Reserves: On sheer size, it’s hard not to get excited about sophomore Josh Chichester. Yes, he’s still raw and will drop passes, but at 6-8 and 240 pounds, he creates the kinds of mismatches that cannot be taught. He laid a foundation for a bright future with 30 catches for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Junior Troy Pascley is another one of the young receivers that gets the coaching staff bubbling with excitement. Smooth and quick in the open field, the 6-2, 198-pounder has big-play potential and is one of the most complete athletes on the roster. In his debut in the rotation, he caught a dozen passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior Trent Guy is one of the inspirational members of the offense, as well as a pretty darn good playmaker. He wasn’t at full strength in 2008 after being shot in the summer, but managed to catch 14 balls for 216 yards and a touchdown in nine games. He’ll make the acrobatic grab and can turn nothing into something in the open field.

Watch Out For… Long. Of all the Cardinal receivers, he’s the one who stands out as a possible next-level player. He’s got the right size, hands, and demeanor to finish his college career on the All-Big East team. First, however, he’ll need to show he can come all the way back from last year’s devastating injury.     
Strength: Talent mix. With last year now behind them, this group complements each other rather well. While Long and Chichester bring the size and physicality, Beaumont, Guy, and Pascley are the catch-and-go playmakers. There’s also a nice blend of veterans and up-and-comers to motivate one another.       
Weakness: Tight end. While Nochta was serviceable a year ago, he was hardly conjuring up memories of Gary Barnidge, or even Scott Kuhn for that matter. With a first-time starting quarterback unlikely to take a ton of chances, he needs to develop into a better safety blanket in the middle of the field.      
Outlook: If Long is ready to reach his potential and the younger players, like Beaumont and Chichester, elevate their games, the Cards have the ingredients of a solid receiving corps. The key is Long, who’ll make everyone else better. If he’s not 100%, this is the same group that didn’t make enough game-changing plays in 2008.
Rating: 7

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: The priority in this off-season will be to replace perennial All-Big East performers Eric Wood and George Bussey, which is no small talk. The two had been fixtures for the last four and three years, respectively. Taking over for Wood at the pivot will be redshirt freshman Mario Benavides. Although he has huge shoes to fill, the 6-4, 290-pounder is already one of the team’s stronger players and shows nice footwork on the move. He’s going to be a good one once he gets some reps under his belt.

The tackles are once again expected to be juniors Jeff Adams and Greg Tomczyk. At 6-8 and 305 pounds, Adams is a mountain of a man with the long arms to be effective in pass protection. A 12-game starter in 2008, he was one of the unit’s most pleasant surprises.

Tomczyk flashed his versatility a year ago, starting games at both tackle and guard for the Cardinals. For a 6-6, 298-pounder, he’s surprisingly light on his feet and has the athletic ability that coaches look for in a left tackle.   

Like the tackles, the guards are experienced as well. On the right side, 6-2, 305-pound Abdul Kuyateh is back for his second season as the starter. An athletic lineman, who has adjusted nicely since transferring from Reedley (Calif.) College, he’ll be looking to become one of the line leaders in his senior year.

Junior Mark Wetterer has the edge on the other side. He started six games in 2008 before being lost for the year with a knee injury. He’s a solid 6-5, 309-pounder with the upper body strength and hands to move opposing defensive lineman off the ball and be a cornerstone, especially as a run blocker.

Projected Top Reserves: The Cardinals’ most experienced backup is 6-5, 305-pound junior Josh Byrom, who slid into the lineup when injuries struck last fall. He’ll be behind Wetterer on the left side, but can shift to either side of the line if needed.

The coaching staff is hoping that junior Byron Stingily is ready to blossom into the kind of tackle that made him so attractive as a junior-college prospect. He has good size, bulking up to 6-5 and 293 pounds, and hasn’t lost the athleticism that made him so effective at Joliet (Ill.) College.

Watch Out For… junior-college transfer Joe Evinger. Evinger has yet to hit the campus, but when he does, he’s expected to provide immediate depth at tackle. One of the most heralded recruits in February’s class, he’s a 6-7, 335-pound tackle, who did his apprenticeship at the College of the Canyons.       
Strength: Experience on the first unit.  Both tackles and both guards started games a year ago, which provides a nice foundation for this season’s unit. Even without Wood and Bussey, there are enough candidates to become leaders of the group.    
Weakness: Depth. Once you get past the starting five, the Cards are going to be green at every position. Byrom earned playing time in 2008, but he’s alone in that area on the second unit, putting pressure on newcomers and underclassmen to fill the voids.
Outlook: Without its two best players from 2008, this unit will be hard-pressed to find an anchor that it can build around. While it’s a good collection of talent at guard and tackle, getting beyond mediocrity will require big seasons from players, like Adams, Wetterer, and Tomczyk. Benavides has a bright future, but the learning curve will be steep in year one.      
Rating: 6.5


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