Following a rookie season that saw Lamar Jackson progress from a somewhat one-demesional quarterback, setting school and Music City Bowl records with his talented legs, the Cardinals second-year quarterback is poised for the next phase of his career.
Jackson's first year behind center at U of L was a continual progression in his development, but a time when the coaching staff leaned on his strength. The Boynton Beach, Fla., native ran for nearly 1,000 yards, reaching 960 with 11 touchdowns to establish a new school record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season and career.
Since the off-season began following the Cardinals 27-21 victory over Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl on December 30, Jackson has focused on expanding his understanding of Bobby Petrino's offense and improving his ability in the passing game. His impressive strides have been on display throughout fall camp, highlighted by his 21 of 25 with five touchdowns performance in the team's scrimmage last Saturday.
"I am trying to be perfect, but those incompletions and those sacks made me mad," Jackson said. "They didn't show my ability to not get sacked. I'm still trying to get better every day."
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Since the spring, Jackson's focus has been to improve the passing game.
He's been instructed told to remain in the pocket and he's made great strides with his arm. While he spent most of Saturday's scrimmage tossing touchdown passes to James Quick, Jaylen Smith, Reggie Bonnafon and Cole Hikutini, the Cardinals sophomore quarterback did display his ability to break free at any moment.
U of L quarterbacks coach Nick Petrino explained that the staff is looking for the right run-pass balance with Jackson.
"It was good to see him get out there," the Cardinals QB coach said. "There was one time, he pulled the ball on the zone read, and he got down the sideline and you saw him hit a second burst, it was pretty impressive. He took off. You're still going to see it. It's going to be a balance. We're going to have to figure out a balance. But you're still going to see him run."