I had a chance to speak with Louisville offensive coordinator Mike Sanford at length about this upcoming season last week and figured I would put up some news and notes. In addition to saying that both Teddy Bridgewater and Will Stein would play this season, here are some of his thoughts on the offense headed into fall practice, which begins Aug. 4.
Jeremy Wright is still recovering from a sports hernia and is not 100 percent yet, but Sanford expects him back in time for the start of practice. Sanford was encouraged in the spring by the play of Wright and Victor Anderson. "We feel like we had a very good spring and we’re excited about having the two of them," he said. "The running back position, you’ve got to have two or three. We have a very good situation in that we have Victor Anderson and Jeremy Wright for sure and some others behind them, but those two I think are a really good complement of each other."
Sanford also discussed the importance of keeping Anderson healthy: "That’s something we ideally would love to see. I think one of the things, he’s a guy who runs hard. With a guy like him, sometimes you can run over people and most times he’s going to have to make them miss. As long as he does that, he’ll be fine."
Michaelee Harris and Andrell Smith are recovering from injuries, but expectations are high for them to join Josh Bellamy as productive receivers this season. But Sanford is really excited about Josh Chichester at tight end. "He’s big and athletic and we expect big things out of him and the other two tight ends, Stephon Ball and Nate Nord," Sanford said. "We expect both of them to be big contributors. Tie them in with receiving group because we utilize our tight ends to be in the game a lot."
As for true freshmen who might contribute, Sanford listed receivers Eli Rogers and DeVante Parker. There could also be true freshmen relied upon on the offensive line, where four new starters enter the season. Ryan Mack and John Miller are two possibilities.
Here is his assessment of the offense: There are question marks. We don’t have an experienced, established quarterback. No. 2, we lost a lot of guys on the offensive line. ... On the flip side of that, we don’t believe in excuses. We’re going to get ourselves ready to go and we have high expectations for our players and I have high expectations for this offense. I’m not going to take a step back and lower our standards. We have to move forward. Our standard is to be the best we can be and better than we were last year."