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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

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Page 88 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 89 ville. "The way last season ended, Louisville fans were made aware of just how much they lacked in offensive line and defensive line depth. A great turnaround in the offensive line would mean at least 10 wins for Lou- isville, possibly more. If it can't figure out the offen- sive line issues, Louisville will still be a bowl team, but not a contender in the ACC." While the Cardinals, who finished 9-4 last season, might have some concerns, make no mistake, their skill players are rivaled by few in the country. That starts with Jackson, a wunderkind who could do every- thing last season, when he finished with 3,543 yards passing, with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions, plus had another 21 rushing scores with 1,571 yards on the ground as only a true sophomore. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder won about every ma- jor offensive award last season, adding the Maxwell (for quarterbacks) to his Heisman and consensus All-America status. Yet he might be able to be even better. "That's the crazy thing," Lindsey said. "Lamar Jack- son won the Heisman Trophy and he is still learning the playbook and how to properly operate in the pock- et." Louisville isn't a one-man show. Junior Jaylen Smith could turn in to a big-time re- ceiving threat, after he showed off his potential last season, averaging more than 22 yards on his 27 recep- tions, with six touchdowns. And senior Jeremy Smith is the leading returning rusher, with eight TDs on only 57 carries. It seems reasonable Louisville will again be able to score this season, after it averaged 42.5 points per game last season, sixth in the NCAA. But if Louisville has its sights on a double-figure win season — and perhaps a shot at the CFP — then it's going to have to answer some questions. The offensive line, which struggled last season, lost three starters, including its center, and it doesn't have a clear-cut answer headed into training camp. "Replacing three starters off of an offensive line that had genuine struggles last season is scary," Lind- sey said, "and Bobby Petrino requires his center to do so much in terms of dealing with a defense and calling out protections." The season opener against Purdue has myriad sto- rylines: It's played in neutral site Indianapolis, nearly equal distance between the two schools; Jackson is the reigning Heisman winner; Louisville is a top-10 program, facing one that's won only nine games in four seasons; and Jeff Brohm and younger brother Brian, the co-offensive coordinator and QB coach, get to face their hometown alma mater. "This game is huge," Lindsey said. "The Brohms were a big part of Louisville's football program in two of its most-successful eras. Louisville is a very tight community and the Catholic community is even tight- er. The Brohm family and all their cousins will make up a section of about 500 people and the rest of Louis- ville will be there in full force." — Kyle Charters

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