Froman disappointed with first start

It wasn't dazzling, or disastrous, but Adam Froman was disappointed by the end result of his debut at quarterback for the University of Louisville.

Adam Froman, the last-minute starter, led the Cardinals to a 10-7 halftime lead against Pittsburgh in the Big East opener for both Friday night at Papa John‘s Cardinal Stadium, but couldn't lead UofL to the victory.

"Obviously my performance was not good enough because we didn't win," said Froman, whose team fell to the Panthers 35-10. "The rest of the team did a good job, I need to do a better job if we are going to win. I don't have any idea what the numbers show, but it wasn't good enough to win."

It's unclear whether Froman or Burke will start against Southern Miss.
Froman, who was 18 for 30 for 166 yards against Pitt, got the nod at quarterback after Justin Burke, UofL's starter the first three games of the season, was ruled out by coach Steve Kragthorpe. Burke suffered a bruised sternum in last Saturday's loss at Utah and didn't practice Monday and was limited on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I just didn't feel like today that he was in condition where he could go out and protect himself and I'm not going to put a guy out there who can't protect himself by running around and making plays," Krag thorpe said. "I talked to the doctors and he's one hit away from it being a pretty significant injury, so we want to get him back healthy before we put him back out there again."

But whether or not Froman, the junior college transfer from California who lost the preseason battle with Burke in part due to his own injury (a pulled back muscle), will be back under center again was up in the air after the game.

"We'll just see how they come out from here. They'll both be in the training room because Adam got a little banged up tonight on the sideline hit," Kragthorpe said. "We'll have treatments (Saturday) then we'll get back on our normal week routine on Sunday and evaluate where we're at."

It was a topsy-turvy week for Froman, who made his UofL debut playing special teams at Utah, then took a majority of the snaps in practice this week.

"That is how football goes sometimes, you have to get in there and contribute any way you can," Froman said. "Sometimes you are the guy calling the shots, sometimes you are the guy making the blocks. Last week I did anything I could to help the team and this week I got the opportunity to be the quarterback. I did what I could with it and appreciate the opportunity."

Froman made the most of it early. He guided the Cards to a touchdown on their second possession of t he game. And though Doug Beaumont's 38-yard pass to Josh Chichester was the big play of the eight-play, 73-yard scoring drive - which Joe Tronzo capped with a 1-yard TD dive - Froman did his part too. Facing first-and-10 at the Pitt 20 Froman, who played some wide receiver at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, rushed for four yards. Then he connected with Victor Anderson on an 8-yard pass. Moments later, on second-and-goal from the Panthers 10, he connected with Tronzo for 9 yards (the play was initially ruled a touchdown, but upon instant replay review Tronzo was ruled down at the 1.

Froman engineered UofL's other scoring drive just before halftime. He led Louisville on an 11-play, 69-yard march, that ended in Ryan Payne's 32-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in the first half, and did most of his damage with his arm, completing 5 of 6 passes for 57 yards.

Froman finished the first half 10 of 15 for 92 yards, while rushing eight times for 8 yards.

"We ran some plays that we had installed throughout fall training camp and it was more of a situation where we just called those plays. It was a situation where we put in specific plays for this game," Kragthorpe said. "We had a package that we called more because of the fact that Adam can run pretty well. He did some good things tonight, I thought, for his first significant action. He managed the game well, did some good things with his feet, ma de some nice throws and, with the exception of the fumble, played error free."

That fumble came midway through the third quarter on the heels of Pitt's second-half opening scoring drive. The Cards, who trailed 14-10 at the time, appeared ready to answer the Panthers' score. But facing a third-and-8 from the Pitt 31 Froman tried to scramble for the first down. But he was hit from behind by defensive lineman Myles Caragein and another Panther lineman (Gus Mustakas) recovered the ball.

"That was me, I just got lazy carrying the ball and I didn't keep it high and tight and I let it slide down on my side a little bit," Froman said.

On Pitt's first possession after Froman's fumble Panthers quarterback Bill Stull connected with wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin for a 71-yard touchdown that gave Pitt a 21-10 lead, and control of the game.

Up 11 points the Panthers put heavy pressure on Froman the rest of the way. They sacked the UofL quarterback four times in the second half and six times in the game after coming in fourth nationally in that category.

"We struggled at the offensive tackle tonight," Kragthorpe said. "We tried to help those guys out with some shifts, some different seven-man protections, some play-action to keep them off balance and move the pocket a little bit. (But) we struggled in some one-on-one situations when we got in third-and-longs where they know we're throwing."

And though he doesn't know if he'll be throwing passes again next Saturday night in UofL's homecoming game against Southern Miss, Froman knows he'll be ready.

"We'll see, I mean, I hope to start, but if not I am here to support the team," he said. "It is a team sport and I will be behind the guy who is out there on the field. We gotta come out here and win ball games, so whoever has the best chance to do that will be out on the field."

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