Will Gardner preparing for bowl and future

University of Louisville reserve quarterback Will Gardner is in a unique situation. The redshirt freshman is the front-runner to take the reigns should Teddy Bridgewater choose to leave early for the NFL Draft.

The benefits of participating in a bowl game are numerous. Among the advantages that programs that participate in the postseason enjoy is the additional work that the players receive that help serve as a catalyst for the next season.

With Teddy Bridgewater set to make a decision on whether to leave early for the NFL Draft, the additional work that reserve quarterback Will Gardner has received during the bowl preparation may serve as a head start on 2014.

"I get more reps now than I have been getting throughout the year," Gardner told Cardinal Authority.

When not working with the first team, Gardner uses the time to continue to learn from the potential top draft pick.

"I sit back and watch him and try to learn, so I can grow from that and carry it on to next year," the 6-foot-5, 200-pound redshirt freshman explained. "He helps by showing how to manage the game and convert the down and distance. He always knows what is going on, so he is great to learn from, especially in how to manage the game without turnovers and things like that."

Gardner has played in six games this season, throwing a pair of touchdowns.

"It has felt great to be able to get out there and get my feet wet. It's great to be able to get reps to help prepare for the future."

While his role for next year is still to be determined, the odds of Gardner being behind center when the Cardinals enter the ACC next season are high.

"It's exciting to think about it, but right now I'm just trying to focus on the moment and better myself everyday without looking to far ahead."

Facing Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl allows the Cardinals a sneak peak into what to expect next season.

"They are an overall good team," said Gardner. "We just have to go out there and play Louisville football and the rest will take care of itself."

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