Louisville played its first ever season in the ACC and a respectable 9-4 showing. Two of their losses were by six points or less, so the future does indeed appear to be bright. Bobby Petrino is back at the helm, and if the team can shore up the quarterback position and get the offensive line to perform a bit better, they should be ready to have an even better 2015. The team last year averaged 31.2 points per game. The one concern will be the fact that only seven starters return, and of the departing players, five of them were all-ACC performers last year.
Last season, the Cardinals started three different quarterbacks, and they appear to be no closer to deciding on a starter for this season. Penn State transfer Tyler Ferguson, in addition to Kyle Bolin and Reggie Bonnafon will be competing for that role this coming year. There is also Will Garnder who is due to return sometime in October. At the wide receiver position, Louisville will be missing DeVante Parker, who had 43 passes and 855 yards last season in only 6 games. Two transfers appear ready to take over the reigns in the form of Ja’Quay Williams from Texas A&M and Jamari Staple from UAB. Paul Harris will also arrive fresh from junior college and will compete for a spot in the rotation. The offensive line will be hurting a bit with the loss of three starter, among them second team All-ACC Jamon Brown, and both starting guards in John Miller and Jake Smith. Center Tobijah Hughley and right Tackle Aaron Epps will be back, so the Cardinals will have to bring the new line up to snuff quickly in order to protect a quarterback who is sure to be less than experienced.
Last season saw Louisville possess one of the best defensive backfields in the nation, allowing just 14 passing touchdowns, and only a 53.9 percent completion rate. The bad news there, however, is that all four starters are gone. Cornerback Shaq Wiggins, a transfer from Georgia, and safety Josh Harvey-Clemons are expected to become two of the starters from the first game. Safety Chucky Williams and redshirt freshman cornerback Cornelius Sturghill will also be ready to get their time in the starting lineup. They will need to learn quickly, however, if the Cardinals hope to compete at the highest level. In all, Louisville will likely battle it out with North Carolina State for the third spot in the Atlantic Division. The edge will go to them if they can get their quarterback position settled early, and have an offensive line that will allow the running game to flourish.
Petrino and his young squad face some tough opponents in Auburn, Clemson, and Florida State among other talented teams this season and they will need to bring their best to compete in the competitive ACC division. Can Petrino and the Cardinals make it to the promise land?
Courtesy of Collegefootball.ap.org