Kragthorpe names starting quarterback

Justin Burke and Adam Froman entered fall camp neck and neck in the race to be Louisville's starting quarterback this season. After Tuesday's practice, UofL coach Steve Kragthorpe ended the race and named a starter for the Cards season opener against Indiana State.

Steve Kragthorpe --

Justin Burke --

Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe named junior Justin Burke the Cardinals starting quarterback Tuesday evening following practice.

"Justin Burke will be the quarterback," Kragthorpe said. "I feel great about Justin's progress throughout training camp. We've got ten more days before we play Indiana State and I think he's been a very consistent performer. Now we can get him the lion's share of the repetitions and prepare him to have a great Saturday night."

Burke and junior college transfer Adam Froman entered camp neck and neck in the race to win the starting quarterback job - replacing Carolina Panthers quarterback Hunter Cantwell. Froman, though, suffered a back injury during training camp that has kept him out of action the past week.

"I wouldn't say he played his way out of it," said Kragthorpe of Froman. "I thought Justin played well. Adam got a little banged up and has a muscle pull in his upper back that hopefully will come around pretty quickly."

Froman didn't participate in Louisville's scrimmage Saturday afternoon that concluded two-a-day camp. Burke took all the first team repetitions in the scrimmage and threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Kragthorpe is hopeful that Froman can return before the season opener against Indiana State but isn't rushing him back to practice.

"We're being pretty cautious with the injury," Kragthorpe said. "We don't want it to turn into an eight week injury when he could be throwing in about eight more days. But Justin's played well and I wouldn't read anything into it (decision) in terms of that."

Burke, a transfer from NC State, will make the first start of his collegiate career against the Sycamores. He threw three passes while a quarterback for the Wolfpack, completing two.

"Justin has been consistent and performed well for us," Kragthorpe said. "I think he's got good command for what we want to do on the offense. Now he's just got to go out and use the guys around him and make sure he puts us in a position to win it.

"He's a very intelligent person and has a good grasp of what the defense is trying to do against him. He's a guy that works extremely hard and he's very diligent preparing himself every day. He's his own worst critic and I'm going to have to keep him positive when he does make a mistake."

Burke said Kragthorpe pulled him aside into his office Tuesday before practice and gave him the news.

"It was a five or ten minute conversation about how he believes in me and where he thinks I can take this program," Burke said. "I was very excited. When you work so hard for something everyday it's good to obtain a goal. You don't want to celebrate about it but you want to be happy that someone believes in you like that. Now it's time to get down to business and Indiana State."

Burke thinks he brings some unique talent to the field.

"I think I make good decisions on the field and my footwork is pretty good," Burke said. "I think I understand the offense enough to lead this team to victories."

Though Froman could be back before the opener and despite a bye between the season opener and the Kentucky game, Kragthorpe said Burke will be the ‘guy.'

"We're going with Justin right now," Kragthorpe said. "He doesn't have to look into the rearview mirror at anybody behind him. He's the guy but we'll always have three or four guys ready to go every week."

With Burke solidly the starter, Kragthorpe's next chore is to determine who will be the backup quarterback. Froman, redshirt freshman Zach Stoudt and walk-on Will Stein are all competing for the job.

"Nobody has been determined as the No. 2 yet," Kragthorpe said. "Adam could be back here pretty quickly we hope. We'll let this thing play out for another four or five days before we decide who the backup is."

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