Last year, this offense was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde affair, or what should be the reverse of this. This year, the Cards come back as a more experienced team, hoping to be more explosive than last year.
Of course, the most important component of the offense is the offensive line, even more-so than the quarterback. Just look at last year, the 28 sacks against both Bolin and Jackson was most likely caused by the inexperience of three freshmen on the line. If you don’t have a line, you’re going to have a bad time (look at the Cleveland Browns). This year, however, the line is more experienced, and that should help out the entire unit by protecting the quarterback and allowing enough time for the receivers to get into position for a big gain. As for rushing, the line should be able to create enough separation to get our backs into the secondary and win the game in the trenches.
Speaking of the trenches, Louisville’s top three running running backs, Radcliff, Smith, and Scott, all return, as they hope to have more experience. All of them averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which should upgrade a little, due to the line. If the Cards can win the game on the ground, then it will keep defenses guessing, as the Cards return all important receivers and tight-ends.
Of course, the two best receivers will have a target on their backs, as both Jamari Staples and James Quick, enter their senior seasons hoping to go out of their college careers with a bang, which they should obtain. Both of them average over 16 yards per completion, with roughly 38 receptions apiece last season. That number should also increase as QB Lamar Jackson gets more settled into Bobby Petrino’s pro-style offense.
Speaking of Jackson, he may very well determine the success of the Cardinals this upcoming season like he did in 2015. This past year, you could see him start to settle in, which is still difficult to do as a true freshman that did not know the entire playbook.
Despite that, he still passed for 1840 yards and rushed for 960, which led the team's rushing statistics, and proved himself as one of the most deceptive dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. He will improve even more on both sides of the ball this season, as he actually had learned the playbook and shall be able to cut down on the interception numbers as well as increase his completion percentage. Behind him is Bolin, whom excelled his first season as a pocket-passer but struggled his second season due to the pressure from the defense that the O-line wasn’t able to contain. He should also benefit from the more experienced line, and prove himself as a capable backup quarterback this next season. The Cards welcome four-star QB Jawon Pass and WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, along with three star recruits Chris Taylor-Yamanoha (WR), PJ Blue (OLB), Keion Wakefield (WR), Malik Williams (WR), Austin Cummins (TE), Linwood Foy (OT), and two-star recruit Dae Williams (RB).
In short, this should be a better offense than last year because of the age and experience, which should create a more balanced offense, one that shouldn’t turn over the ball as readily and should be able to compete in the difficult ACC Atlantic Division.