Cards developing new stars on o-line

Cards developing new stars on o-line

The key to Louisville's high-powered offense will be a re-tooled line that includes three new starters. Two of the Cardinals new starters – guard Mark Wetterer and tackle Jeff Adams – have mixed nicely with returning stars Eric Wood and George Bussey this spring.

The key to Louisville's high-powered offense will be a re-tooled line that includes three new starters. Two of the Cardinals new starters – guard Mark Wetterer and tackle Jeff Adams – have mixed nicely with returning stars Eric Wood and George Bussey this spring.

It was expected that the losses of starting offensive linemen Breno Giacomini and Danny Barlow would be hard for Louisville to overcome. But the offensive line has hardly missed a beat this spring with the 6-5, 315-pound Wetterer stepping into Barlow's shoes at guard and 6-8, 320-pound Adams taking Giacomini's place at tackle.


Mark Wetterer seems to have solidified a
starting job at guard this spring.

"I'm just trying to get used to the speed and adjust to the new scheme," said Wetterer.

Wetterer and Adams have benefitted from the leadership provided by veterans Wood and Bussey while adjusting to their new role as starters.

"They help everybody not just me," Wetterer said. "They get people's minds right in the huddle and help me understand what I need to do from play to play. They're great leaders and great guys."

Wetterer, a true sophomore from Cincinnati, saw limited action for the Cardinals early last season before an injury sidelined him for the season. Still, Wetterer believes that experience will play big dividends for him this season.

"That helped me out mentally more than anything knowing that I've been underneath the lights before," said Wetterer. "I know what it's like and I can't wait until Kentucky."

Adams, a talented sophomore from Trigg County, Ky., has worked hard during the off-season and in spring practice to prepare himself to make an impact next season.


Jeff Adams has made solid improvement
this spring.

"The o-line has come together real good," Adams said. "For me it's hard getting to know the plays but the older guys – Wood and Bussey – help me out with the plays and staying after to teach me the plays. Learning the offense and coming up to game speed is the biggest worry I've got."

Both Wetterer and Adams are impressive physical specimens. One of offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm's goals this spring has been to re-kindle a physical-style of play from his offense. That's an approach that Adams and his line mates are excited about.

"We're going to run the ball more, that's the difference," Adams said. "We've been real physical and going at it every day and busting heads."

Wood, Louisville All-Big East center and team captain, has been impressed with his younger teammates progress during spring practice.

"They're doing well," Wood said. "It's taken us a little time for us all to gel but so far they've progressed well this spring. As long as they keep getting better we won't miss a beat up front. We've had seven, eight practices so far and it'll probably take through fall camp for us to reach our full potential as an offensive line but we'll get there."

Though the Louisville defense has been thinned by injury and attrition this spring, Wetterer has benefitted from facing strong competition each in practice from veteran defensive linemen Earl Heyman and Adrian Grady.

"Mark is a very, very talented young guy," said offensive line coach Brent Myers. "Unfortunately he hasn't been in (many) game situations which is always the true test. He's done a very nice job this spring. He's a very physical guy and he lines up almost every day against either Adrian Grady or Earl Heyman. That will be nothing but a help for him when he comes into the season because he plays against great competition every day in practice. He's taken his lumps. He's been successful at times and he's improving."

For Adams, Meyers says the young tackle needs to make a few technical improvements and continue to work hard on his mental approach to the game.

"Jeff Adams is in the same situation – he hasn't played a ton," Meyers said. "He's a big, tall, athletic kid. He needs to shore up on his footwork and technique but he's done a good job of learning his assignments. If he can do that I think he's got a chance to be a really good player down the line because he has a lot of ability. But the mental part is his biggest challenge."

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