Offense won't change with Bridgewater injury

University of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a broken left wrist but will play in Thursday night's Big East Conference title deciding game at Rutgers. He'll have a cast on his left wrist, so how will that change the offense? Cardinal Authority talks to offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and others.

Teddy Bridgewater has a broken left wrist and will be wearing a cast during the University of Louisville's football game on Thursday night at Rutgers.

But there's no chance Bridgewater won't play in the game that will decide the Big East Conference champion. It also won't alter the Cardinals' game plan.

U of L head coach Charlie Strong said backup Will Stein will be ready but offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said he believes Bridgewater will be just fine. He played much of the second half with a broken left wrist and in overtime against Connecticut last weekend he also sprained his left ankle.

The coaches said Bridgewater won't be able to go under center, instead operating out of the shotgun and pistol formations.

"We're built for that," Watson said. "Very little changes. In what we do and how we structure ourselves, it doesn't hurt us at all. It really doesn't.

"Will is always ready and we used him last week in short distance because we didn't know what we were dealing with but we won't have to do that this week.

Bridgewater didn't talk to the media this week but his longtime friend and former high school teammate Eli Rogers said, "he's a tough guy."

And he's expected to show it again this week.

Strong and Watson both said on Monday the running game has to be effective against Rutgers, noting the Cardinals can still run the ball.

Bridgewater had a little trouble with handing off last week with his injury but the coaches are confident he'll be just fine.

"(The injury) hasn't eliminated anything for our offense," Watson said. "We're more of a pistol team than an underneath team, so it really doesn't hurt us.

"We are able to run all of our stuff from that alignment."

Bridgewater has thrown for 3,189 yards and 23 touchdowns, including 30 of 53 for 331 yards and two touchdowns in the 23-20 loss to UConn last week.

"He's a tough kid all around," backup Will Stein said. "He really came through."

Strong noted Stein would be ready and also pointed out he has a history at Rutgers. As a sophomore, Stein replaced injured starter Justin Burke and completed 9 of 14 passes for 72 yards and one TD in a 40-13 victory at Rutgers.

The win clinched a bowl berth for the Cardinals in their first season under the guidance of Strong.

"The thing about Stein is we are very comfortable with (him) in there," Strong said. "This football team is comfortable with Stein. He has played a lot of ball. If you think about two years ago, it was Stein that went in when (Justin) Burke got injured and won a game for us at Rutgers."

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