Today was Media Day for the Louisville football program. There was a common theme amongst those in attendance asking the questions. Everyone wants to know how the offensive linemen are progressing and it is an area that will be closely watched during fall camp.
Folks are also very interested in how the new guys will fit into the system and how quickly it will take the guys who sit out last year to make an impact. I also heard a lot of questions asked about the defense. It will again be pivotal in the success of this season and everyone wants to know what we will look like on this side of the ball.
The thing drawing the most attention at media day was the battle that is playing out for the starting QB spot. This has been a hot topic all summer and today we got the chance to ask some direct questions to Coach McGee and the guys involved in this position battle.
I think Reggie Bonnafon will be the starter when Cardinals take the field on September 5th at the Georgia Dome. He has the slight edge in my opinion due to his competitive nature and ability to make plays when needed in big game situations. He showed this several times last season.
Coach Petrino mentioned today that his arm strength has improved and that he feels like Reggie will be more comfortable running the offense. Last season he had a tendency rush through his reads and bail out too early with the run.
Reggie seemed very encouraged today while speaking with the media and also seems confident about his potential to have a great season.
I think we will see Will Gardner end fall camp in the #2 QB spot. He actually knows the offense better than all of the QB’s and has a very good delivery. Coaches raved today about his recovery and how quickly he has bounced back.
He is a very mature guy and I’m very impressed with the humility he shows. The one area where he lacks some ability is in lateral quickness. I think coach Petrino likes the idea of having a mobile quarterback and this is where Will falls off a little.
Kyle Bolin will end fall camp in the #3 QB spot. Yes he had that big game moment against UK in the final game last season and is a very competent QB. I think his lack of mobility and arm strength are what puts him in the third spot. Kyle is a great kid and also speaks with a lot of humility. He like the rest of these guys is very selfless.
All three of these guys are very capable QBs and I think all of them will get a chance to see some field time in the early part of the season. They all have big game experience and all have shown that they can make plays.
A guy not at Media Day but whose name was brought up a lot was Lamar Jackson. The coaching staff lights up when you mention this kids name and the players already have a lot of respect for the young QBs abilities. I went on with the Afternoon Underdogs this past week and told them that I expected Jackson to be a part of the offense this season. And after hearing Coach McGee talk about him at Media Day I’m even more certain of that now.
I do think they will bring him along slow and that we will see him in some 4th quarter clean up duties. This will give him a chance to get comfortable running the huddle and operating the offense. He will also have to learn to read a defense and to learn the right check downs. The coaches will evaluate him in these situations and if he starts moving the chains who knows.
I think by seasons end we could see him used similar to the way Urban Meyer used Tim Tebow with Chris Leak when he won that first title at Florida. But unlike Tebow the Jackson kid has a rocket for an arm. Can you imagine Coach Petrino coming out on a series with a formation that has two guys who can run and throw a pass? The possibilities are unlimited. I get really excited just thinking about it.
It was good to hear from McGee and his QBs this morning and this will be an exciting development to follow all through the fall camp and into the season. You can’t have too much talent and depth especially at the most important position on the football field. Louisville is in good shape.