Is Will Gardner already the starting QB?

With spring football just around the corner for the University of Louisville, new coach Bobby Petrino met with the media and discussed the team's quarterback position. Is Will Gardner the guy under center for Petrino?

New University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino is still six days from the start of his first spring football practice.

So, it was no surprise when Petrino was not ready to talk about a potential starting quarterback for the Cardinals next season.

"Oh no, I won't make (a decision) in the spring," Petrino said. "We'll know who comes out of the spring at No. 1. But I've always tried to treat the quarterback position, just like every other position. There is going to be competition and there will be a depth chart set."

Redshirt sophomore Will Gardner, who was Teddy Bridgewater's backup last season, is expected to be at the top of that depth chart.

The 6-foot-5, 226-pound Gardner played in six games last season and has "impressed" Petrino in offseason workouts and meetings. He was 8 of 12 passing for 112 yards and two touchdowns in limited action last season.

"Will Gardner showed his competitiveness and the athleticism he has," Petrino said. "I mean, his numbers in testing were unbelievable to me/ He ran under a 4.6 and he bench pressed 330 and cleaned (lifted) really, really good.

"I had no idea that he could do that."

Petrino said Gardner, who sat out his freshman year with a knee injury and had a knee injury also as a senior in high school in Douglas, Ga., saw his stock soar with those testing numbers.

"It would have been one of those deals where if he was going through the (NFL) combine, his stock went way up," Petrino said. "Because his stock went way up in the testing of coaches just by his competitiveness and athleticism. I had no idea that he could run like that."

While Gardner is expected to be the starter by many, Petrino said he will have "plenty" of competition from several other signal callers.

Redshirt freshman Kyle Bolin was a four-star prospect out of Lexington Catholic High School. He sat out last season as a redshirt, but Petrino said the 6-2, 203-pound Bolin will battle Gardner for the starting spot.

"Kyle is real intelligent and really understands the game," Petrino said. "I have not gotten to see him throw the football, but he's been very impressive."

Senior Brett Nelson came to U of L from Southwestern Community College in California prior to last season and didn't play in any games. He's a 6-4, 220-pounder from Chiula Vista, Calif., with a strong arm.

"Brett Nelson is a guy who I have really been impressed with just because he knows the game and is very, very mature," Petrino said. "He works really hard, all three of them work hard."

Petrino also mentioned that incoming freshman Reggie Bonnafon of Trinity High School would jump into the mix this summer. Bonnafon was the highest ranked recruit in the Class of 2014 for the Cardinals after playing QB for only one season with the Shamrocks.

Penn State transfer Tyler Ferguson, a former JUCO standout, will sit out this season but can practice with the Cardinals.

"Reggie will be in the mix," he said. "Tyler has to sit but he'll certainly add a lot to the meeting room with his knowledge and experience and game planning and preparing.

"I'm very excited about the guys we've got."


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