QB Gardner says Cards need to move on

Among the reaction we heard from the University of Louisville football players to Charlie Strong leaving was from expected starting quarterback Will Gardner. The redshirt freshman expected to replace Teddy Bridgewater under center said the players respect Strong and move on.

Will Gardner, the University of Louisville player expected to replace Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback next season, said the Cardinals need to celebrate what Charlie Strong did in his four years with the Cardinals.

But Gardner said the team also needs to move on.

Strong left U of L for Texas over the weekend and on Sunday the current players had a team meeting and began thinking about the future.

"You've got to respect coach Strong's decision, what he's done for the program and where he's brought it too," Gardner said. "We just have to keep moving forward as a team and hope for the best next year.

"It's tough because you get to know these coaches, you are with them all day, every day and you grow with them. But you just have to respect it and move on from it and just kind of keep things going."

Gardner said he wasn't sure how many players had talked with Strong but he said he had been in contact with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and noted he was also "not sure what was going on."

But Gardner said once he heard the news was official and got over the initial shock that he knew the team had to "keep moving on."

While he hasn't won the starting spot yet – and now even more with a new coach – Gardner said he has to work even harder in the offseason.

And he said what he learned from Strong will "help a lot."

"Just how to be a better person, be the best man you can be," Gardner said. "He taught us how to handle adversity, things like this, and be better off because of it. We know Mr. Jurich is going to do the best thing for us."

Gardner said it would be "so great" if Watson was named head coach but said "those things are up to Mr. Jurich. He'll get the best person."

As for now, Gardner said the players "just have to hope for the best."

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