The University of Louisville offense has struggled with consistency through the first half of the season. While the Cardinals are 5-1 overall, 3-1 in the ACC, it has been the defense that has dominated in games and provided opportunities for the offense to score.
For true freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, that's only a signal that more hard work is required.
“Coming in my number one thing was to just work hard,” Bonnafon said following Tuesday's practice. “My parents always taught to work hard and it'll get you what you want. I just came in with the mindset that I was going to go hard every opportunity that I get and it's gotten me to this point so far, so I'm going to keep doing it.”
The rookie from Louisville Trinity may still be searching for a more frequent groove out on the field, he has been nothing but consistent in his preparation since he first arrived on campus. The hard work seemed to spark some consistency during the second half of the Cardinals 28-6 win at Syracuse.
Following a first half that saw him complete less than 50 percent of his pass attempts and an interception, Bonnafon was much more settled during the final two quarters. The offense sustained two scoring drives of more than 65 yards, he completed 7 of 11 pass attempts and eliminated the turnovers.
“I'd say the second half of the Syracuse game,” he explained. “I finally settled down and started to get into a little groove. I'm going to take that and try to keep moving forward.
“It's all about reps and being consistent, focusing on the play calls and different things with the defenses. Every time I'm out there on the field I think every play that I'm getting better.”
U of L offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has been impressed by the composure that Bonnafon has displayed while directing the team.
“I've been really impressed by how well he manages himself out there,” said McGee. “I ask the players how he is in the huddle, because that's something that coaches don't get to see on game day, and they say that he has a lot of intensity, but at the same time he's really pushing them, he's up-tempo, he's up-beat. I'm just really happy with him.”
This weekend he'll likely be behind center when Louisville visits Clemson's 'Death Valley' where more than 80,000 will be in attendance.
“That's why you come to programs like this,” Bonnafon said. “Growing up as a kid, you would watch games and see those big crowds, and you always hoped to be in those shoes one day. It's a dream come true and a great opportunity for myself and the team to try get a victory."
Kickoff for the Cardinals and Tigers is set for Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.