Now, just 93 days from kickoff of the opening game of the 2015 season Petrino said he thinks Gardner will be able to compete for the starting quarterback job this season. He underwent season-ending knee surgery for a torn ACL in November.
"He's had a very good outlook here in the last month, really made tremendous improvement," Petrino said. "He's ahead of schedule. Will's very confident. He feels he'll be in the competition when practice starts in August and be 100 percent and ready to go."
Petrino said because it's the third surgery on his left knee since he was in high school that the U of L coaching and medical staffs will take it a little slower with Gardner.
"We're pulling the reins back making sure he only does only what the previous schedule had him doing," Petrino said. "But he says he actually fares better than ever. Again, though, it's the third straight surgery on the same knee and what happens when he starts torquing the knee as far as running and changing direction. How he responds when he starts (moving) and delivering the football is the concern.
"But Will's very confident."
The 6-foot-5 Gardner was working the U of L baseball NCAA Regional last weekend as an internship in the athletic department and said he "feels better than ever" after this surgery.
Gardner made seven starts last season for the Cardinals and threw for 1,669 yards and 12 touchdowns with three interceptions. He first injured the knee in the Florida International game and missed two games; but he returned and later hurt the knee against Boston College and missed the rest of the season after surgery.
Sophomores Reggie Bonnafon and Kyle Bolin, Penn State transfer Tyler Ferguson and incoming freshman Lamar Jackson are expected to battle for the quarterback position this fall.
Cardinal Authority will keep you posted on the status of Gardner.