Just one week into the 2020 season, and Louisville's offensive line is already off to a hot start. Against Western Kentucky, the Cardinals (1-0, 0-0 ACC) had the highest-graded offensive line in Week 2 with left guard Caleb Chandler carrying the third-highest grade amongst offensive lineman according to Pro Football Focus.
"I thought some of the guys played as well or better than at any point that they did last year, and that's credit to how they've been working," Dwayne Ledford said Tuesday. The second year offensive coordinator singled out Caleb Chandler, Cole Bentley & Renato Brown as those he was impressed with in Saturday's 35-21 win over the Hilltoppers.
He also noted one additional player: Cam DeGeorge. Making his Louisville debut as a graduate transfer from UConn, the redshirt senior saw time at both guard positions as well as at right tackle all in backup roles.
Ledford has been high on DeGeorge and the experience he brings ever since he arrived on campus, and that didn't change after seeing his first outing in the Red & Black. He even went as far to say that he would be an unquestioned starter in Louisville operated with six on-field offensive linemen.
DeGeorge has obvious starter-caliber talent, as he started 34 of the 36 games in his time with the Huskies. While he might not be starter with the Cardinals, at least not yet, his role is every bit as important and could be the key to helping the offensive line find sustained success as the season progresses.
Instead of having to rely so much on your starting five on the line due to a talent & experience drop off, DeGeorge can absorb some of those reps and allow Louisville to keep linemen fresh throughout a game and throughout the season.
"It's a long game that we play. Having somebody that can step in there and just give you even a series off, it goes a long way," senior center Cole Bentley said. "Having someone that can jump around and give people breaks when they need them is huge."
At the moment, DeGeorge is currently in a three-man rotation with the starting interior offensive linemen. While he can handle his own playing on the bookends of the line, Ledford is still in pursuit of that seventh or eighth go-to guy who can rotate with the offensive tackles and be the penciled-in backup center.
"We're close to it," he said "This is something that you hope to get some opportunities where you get some more guys in there. But it's something where I don't feel like we're that far off with it."
No. 18 Louisville is set to host No. 17 Miami (1-0, 0-0 ACC) this weekend for their conference opener, with College GameDay also tagging along for the ride. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
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