The spring began with Louisville replacing its offensive coordinator, and it ends Saturday with Bobby Petrino’s crew having made significant progress in firming up some big questions on that side of the ball. Nevertheless, Saturday’s spring game will involve a lot more questions on the offense than on defense.
1. How much better does the offensive line look?
There may be no bigger question looming over Louisville than the O-line, which was a complete disaster last season. Three freshmen got regular reps last year and nine members of the O-line's two-deep are back for 2016, which translates to a lot higher expectations for the unit. Petrino has echoed their praises after prior scrimmages, and a big step forward by the O-line could equate to a far more explosive offense. There’s a lot of enthusiasm surrounding quarterback Lamar Jackson, but his success likely will be determined by how much time his line can give him in the pocket.
2. What’s Reggie Bonnafon’s role on offense?
Last year’s opening-game starting QB is now playing a little of everything on offense, working out of the backfield, at receiver and still getting a handful of snaps at QB. It’s doubtful the spring game will showcase all the tricks Louisville has up its sleeve for Bonnafon in 2016, but it should be a good chance to see how comfortable he looks in this new capacity -- particularly when it comes to route running and hauling in passes.
3. Is there depth on defense behind the big names?
Louisville has the luxury of bringing back a ton of experienced talent on defense, from DeAngelo Brown up front, to Keith Kelsey and Devonte Fields at linebacker, to Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins in the secondary. But there still are some big holes to be filled with the departures of Sheldon Rankins and James Burgess, and Todd Grantham would love to see some young talent take a big step forward to provide depth. James Hearns, Jaire Alexander and Stacy Thomas are among the more high-profile reserves from 2015 stepping into the spotlight.