Position series: Quarterbacks

Cardinal Authority is running a position series as a new preseason football feature to help you get familiar with the entire University of Louisville roster. The eighth day of the series takes a look at the quarterbacks.

OVERVIEW

One of the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy this season, Teddy Bridgewater holds down the fort under center for the Louisville Cardinals.

Bridgewater took over for Will Stein in the third game his freshman season and the rest has been history – and success – for the junior signal caller and also for the Cardinals, who went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl last season.

"It's at a really good place right now," U of L offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said about the quarterback position at U of L.

A native of Miami, Bridgewater is expected to one of the top five picks in the April NFL Draft if he comes out of college early. At least one NFL Mock Draft has Bridgewater ranked as the top prospect.

He threw for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, completing 68.5 percent of his passes and just eight interceptions. He led the Cardinals to a comeback against Rutgers with a sprained ankle and broken wrist.

"He's the real deal," South Florida coach Willie Taggart said.

Bridgewater is the talk of the town and one of the early college football stories, but he said he doesn't want the school to do a Heisman campaign.

"Teddy is about the team and he's about his role with the team," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "Heisman Hype of the NFL talk are not things that he things about. He just doesn't talk about it at all.

"Every player would love those opportunities but Teddy is not geared that way and that's why he's been such a good player for us."

The QB position with Bridgewater is in good shape but heading into the fall camp the question mark was his backup.

After 20 practices, the U of L staff is excited about the future of the position. Redshirt freshman Will Gardner has won the backup role and Watson said he is "elated" with his progress.

"It's just fun to watch him now have total command of the offense," U of L head coach Charlie Strong said of Gardner.

True freshman Kyle Bolin and junior-college transfer Brett Nelson are battling for the third position on the roster.

BREAKOUT PERFORMER

Will Gardner, Freshman

Yes, Gardner is the future.

There has been some question heading into fall camp about the backup position but Watson said it's clear now.

"He's a good one," Watson said.

Gardner has taken control of the offense, shown a strong arm and is getting better and better all the time. He missed his senior year of high school and all of last season with knee injuries but had been healthy this fall.

Gardner is the backup and we will see him this season.

SLEEPER

Kyle Bolin, Freshman

While it's not likely we see him this season, freshman Kyle Bolin has looked solid so far in fall camp for the Cardinals.

Bolin missed last season with a knee injury as a senior at Lexington Catholic but is healthy and has shown the staff a lot of good things.

Bolin will be in the mix for the position in the future.

EXTRA POINTS

Cardinal Authority will have a long feature on Bridgewater and his junior season under center next week, along with a story on "What folks (both local and national) are saying about Teddy."

Nelson is a junior and has two years of eligibility after coming from a JUCO. He could redshirt this season and still have two years left.

*Watson is also high on walk-on Andrew Risher, a 6-foot, 186-pound redshirt freshman from Christian Academy in Louisville.

*Redshirt sophomore Jerry Arlinghaus, who hails from Covington Holy Cross, is also on the roster for the Cardinals.

COMING UP

*Check back later today for a feature on Will Gardner.

*The position series will continue tomorrow with special teams.


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