Petrino says center positon remains unsettled

Jason Spitz

One of the most important areas Louisville coach Bobby Petrino will keep a close eye on during preseason camp is the development along the offensive line, particularly how well the unit functions with converted guard Jason Spitz at center and former tackle Renardo Foster at weak guard.

One of the most important areas Louisville coach Bobby Petrino will keep a close eye on during preseason camp is the development along the offensive line, particularly how well the unit functions with converted guard Jason Spitz at center and former tackle Renardo Foster at weak guard.

Spitz, a three-year starter at guard, moved to center last spring to replace 2004 starter Will Rabatin. And while the 6-4, 311-pound senior adjusted well to his new position during spring drills, Petrino isn't sure whether or not Spitz will remain at his new position.

"We played him at center all spring and we think he can be an excellent center," Petrino said of Spitz. "He's very smart, very confident. He has the confidence to come up to the [line] and get it all started. And he's very strong."

Petrino said he's grown quite comfortable during the past two seasons with Spitz at guard next to All-America tackle Travis Leffew, particularly opening holes for the Cardinals potent rushing attack.


If Foster makes a smooth transition
to guard, Spitz will likely stay put
at center.

Entering camp, Petrino has Spitz penciled in as the starter at center, while 6-7, 317-pound junior Renardo Foster is being counted on to replace Spitz, a Remington award nominee, at weak guard. Foster, a two-year starter at tackle, is returning from a knee injury suffered against East Carolina that required surgery. He missed spring drills recovering from the injury and how well he transitions from tackle to guard will play a major factor in Petrino's decision about whether to keep Spitz at center or move him back to his natural position at guard.

"I've got to get comfortable with the situation with [Spitz] at center and who that weak guard is going to be because I've relied a lot on Spitz and Lefew the last two years in critical situations," explained Petrino. "Whether [Spitz] remains at that position is still yet to be seen. I would like to see it happen but it will all depend where we're best at. Is Renardo Foster going to be able to play that weak guard? Or are we better off with Eric Wood at center and Jason back at guard?"

If Foster doesn't pan out at guard like Petrino hopes and he's forced to return Spitz to his former position, 6-4, 290-pound sophomore Eric Wood, a talented redshirt freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio, likely would step in at center.

The developments along the offensive line will be one of the primary areas the coaching staff will closely monitor as practice gets underway this week.

"It's something we'll have to work on through camp," Petrino admitted.

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