Louisville football: Ledford’s departure a crushing loss

On Friday morning, it was reported that Louisville football co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford would be departing the program after just two seasons for a new, unique opportunity at the NFL level.

Clearly, it is a match made in heaven for Ledford who has a previous relationship with newly hired Falcons head coach Arthur Smith.

Before being hired into the NFL, Ledford was considered a finalist for the Marshall University head coach position in recent weeks. He obviously did not ultimately end up landing the position. But other places of work were starting to take notice of Ledford’s ability to coach up offensive linemen and the clear love he has from players he has coached in the past.

Now – just like that – he ends up in the NFL where he will be coaching the position he has been known for. He has coached offensive line for more than a decade making stops anywhere from Tennessee State to Louisville and now the Atlanta Falcons.

Ledford’s loss will sting the program for multitude of reasons

By all accounts, Ledford was quite the players’ coach. He developed a fantastic relationship with Louisville’s most recent first round pick in the NFL Draft, Mekhi Becton.

In 2020, Ledford’s offensive line helped pave the way for the 18th best yards per rush in the nation (5.24) and he assisted Mekhi Becton on his journey to being drafted 11th overall by the New York Jets.

There likely will not be an offensive line coach that can come close to the level that Ledford developed and established offensive line talent for the Cardinals.

In addition to coaching prowess, Ledford had proved himself as an ace recruiter for the program including being the main man on four-star offensive guard Luke Kandra in the 2020 class and was most recently one of the recruiters for four-star running back Trevion Cooley in the 2021 class.

His presence will be excruciatingly missed as Louisville has now lost three key offensive coaches in one offseason that includes running backs coach, quarterbacks coach, and now offensive coordinator/offensive line coach. The lone offensive position coach that remains on staff from 2020 is wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer.

Satterfield needs to knock next hire out of the park

With the significant hole that Ledford leaves, Scott Satterfield‘s next hire is going to be absolutely crucial. It will be interesting to see if he attempts to lure a top offensive line coach with the “co-offensive coordinator” tag that Ledford had when he came over from NC State in 2019.

If he chooses to go that route, Satterfield could land a big fish. That “offensive coordinator” tag would be able to pull a good amount of coaches. It matters even if Satterfield is ultimately the play-caller for the team.

This hire will be very important to the program and a good hire will soften the blow enough. But there is a reason that Ledford got the opportunity to head to the league to coach offensive linemen. He is a true guru for that group and it would be a bit shocking if he fails at that level.

The offensive coaching staff will look a lot different in 2021.