Louisville football: One position group just became even more important

The Louisville football team got a little scarce at tight end heading into the monster match-up vs Notre Dame. I’ll examine where the Cards will miss Jordan Davis the most.

New Louisville football head coach met with the media on Monday afternoon for the first time in a pre-game setting as he looked ahead to next Monday’s matchup with Notre Dame.

Satterfield provided updates on the conclusion to fall camp, the overall state of the program, position groups that stood out, those that needed work, amongst other relevant news bits.

One of the biggest announcements he made came at the expense of one of his most important position groups on offense.

Coach Scott Satterfield announced Louisville tight end Jordan Davis’ two-game academic suspension on Monday that steemed from academic probation. The Texas A&M transfer appeared to be making headway leading up to the deciding period, but in the end, fell short of staff expectations.

Nevertheless, Satterfield’s staff must prepare for a daunting task in its season opener as no. 9 Notre Dame cruises into The Ville for a Labor Day showdown. Actually, it’s a lot more daunting for the offense than you would think.

The 6’4” standout in practice will be sorely missed Monday night. The Irish bring one of the elite defensive lines in college football to the table.

On the edges are perhaps one of the best defensive end tandem in the country, Julian Okwara, and Khalid Kareem.

Okwara has gained national attention as a top-notch pass-rusher and pocket shrinker. Kareem is a brick house attack that uses slippery but violent methods to achieve penetration. But that’s not all. The interior d-line is ferocious in its own right, spearheaded by Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (Tua’s cousin).

We all know he has made some impressive grabs in preseason practices, but of course, for the Cards, Davis’ absence poses a problem for maintaining pocket protection for recently named starting quarterback Jawon “Puma” Pass and Louisville running backs.

At 255 lbs. and chiseled with toned muscle, Davis could certainly hold his own on the edge and has shown promise as a solid blocker for the running attack.

But there are other obstructions in the gauntlet of the Notre Dame defense.

Coach Brian Kelly employs a stout secondary that has lived up to the off-season hype in practices thus far.  With an experienced defensive back squad, headlined by ATL-produced freshman phenom Kyle Hamilton.

Jordan Davis provides not only a big, agile target but also great hands. Puma Pass would love nothing more on a 3rd-and-long situation than to see Davis running an eight-yard cross route or a 5-yard comeback when things get a little desperate in a collapsing pocket.

Thus, that option is off the table as of now as the Cards look to Vanderbilt graduate transfer Ean Pfeiffer as the next man up. He’ll immediately become one of the most important players for the Cards in the season opener.

Perhaps the Notre Dame game will help develop Pfeiffer, even more, moving forward, as he transitions from playing on the offensive line at Vanderbilt to now becoming the primary tight end target for the Louisville offense.

Our own Alex Stengel recently ranked Pfeifer as the 22nd most important player in 2019 for Louisville, as he prepared to man the backup tight end position in his first and only season at Louisville. He wrote:

Pfeifer is a great pickup for the Cards, especially at a position of need. Considering how Satterfield has explained that his tight ends will act as an extension of the offensive line on a lot of the sets they will run, Pfeifer makes total sense.

He obviously has the blocking credentials, but the other factor that should translate to success at tight end for Pfeifer? His body.

Ean has put in WORK in the offseason.

Coming in at 6’4” and competing against some of the most talented collegiate players in the SEC, Pfeifer was playing around 300 pounds. He’s since leaned down to a solid 255 pounds, making him a potential wrecking ball on the field at tight end.

Behind him, the Cards are extremely limited – having just freshmen Dez Melton, Marshon Ford, and walk-on, Jeffrey Banks. Pfeifer will have to play one of the best games of his football career to start the season if Louisville is going to have any chance of competing. With a much improved offensive line, Pfeifer should be able to help provide great run blocking support, but the primary focus will be on running routes and catching the ball in a big game.

Not that I’m looking past EKU, but all eyes are on the kickoff Monday evening, and without the presence of Jordan Davis, it seems as though the Cardinals have an even steeper uphill battle.

Next: Ranking the 25 most important players for Louisville football in 2019

If the glaring pitfalls stem from the tight end position, then perhaps there can be a discussion to be had about the September 7 face-off with the Colonels.

 

 

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