Justin Burke won a hotly contested quarterback battle over Adam Froman during fall camp after Froman, a junior college transfer, missed time with a shoulder injury. Burke started Louisville's first three games, leading the Cardinals to a 1-2 record with losses to Kentucky and Utah. Injured against Utah, Froman replaced Burke in the starting lineup against Pittsburgh, a 35-10 loss for the Cardinals in their Big East opener last Friday.
Kragthorpe said Monday that both Burke and Froman will be ready to play against Southern Miss but refused to provide any indication which quarterback will start against the Golden Eagles.
Burke threw for 649 yards and three touchdowns and four interceptions through three games but completed just 51 percent of his passes. Froman completed 18 of 30 passes for 166 yards in the loss to Pittsburgh but was sacked six times and lost one fumble. Kragthorpe said both players will prepare for the Southern Miss game.
"Both of those guys will be healthy," Kragthorpe said. "We'll practice both of those guys and make a game day decision. We'll probably take it into game day to see how both of those guys respond to the week of practice and let those guys both go at it."
That's a departure from what Kragthorpe said last week when he said that he didn't want Burke, who started Louisville's first three games, "looking over his shoulder."
"I think both guys have played well for us," Kragthorpe added. "I'm not worried about our quarterback situation because I feel like we've got two really good players that can do an effective job for us."
Kragthorpe said he's spoken with Burke and Froman about the situation heading into Saturday's homecoming contest. The Cardinals desperately need a win after losing 8 of their past 9 games.
"I've talked to both of those guys and they'll be fine," Kragthorpe said. "We'll let the practice situation be what it is during the week and you guys will find out who it is when they walk out there on game day."
Kragthorpe said he plans to give both quarterbacks reps with the first team offense this week in practice before settling on a decision.
"Everybody has talked about Adam as a runner and Justin as a thrower but I think both of those have disproved any inadaquacies that people thought they had going into the season," said Kragthorpe. "Justin has proven to be effective with his feet and made plays on the run outside the pocket and I thought Adam really threw the ball crisply in the game and made some nice plays off the play-action passes. I think both of those guys are becoming more complete players."