It would have been great to see Teddy Bridgewater get a chance to compete in the ACC this season, especially in the same division as Clemson and Florida State, but the page has been turned at Louisville. New head coach (same as the old coach?) Bobby Petrino seems to have found a comfort level with Will Gardner, who is expected to be the starting quarterback for the Cardinals as the program moves into the ACC this fall.
“He’s a young man who is extremely coachable, very intelligent and really into it,” Petrino said in a story published by USA Today. “When you talk about dedication and commitment, Will has done all of that.”
Replacing Bridgewater is pretty much impossible, but Gardner’s job will be to keep the offense steady behind an experienced offensive line. The situation could be worse for Louisville, but having a quarterback who is preparing to be a leader in the offseason should help the program have a smoother transition under center and in moving to a new conference. Gardner’s studious attitude has caught the eye of Petrino.
“He’s a student of the game,” Petrino told USA Today. “He spends a lot of time working at it, studying other quarterbacks, studying the offense. He’s a type of player that you want to have, that you want to cheer for and do well. It’s our job as coaches to prepare him so he can go out there and perform.”
Gardner is a redshirt sophomore and is the only quarterback with any amount of significant playing experience on the roster this fall. Louisville has added juco quarterback Patrick Thomas as well as former Penn State quarterback Tyler Ferguson.
Louisville added one more quarterback option to the competition to replace Teddy Bridgewater in 2014. The Cardinals announced the addition of junior college transfer quarterback Patrick Thomas, one of the top dual-threat players from the junior college ranks.
“I’m pleased that Patrick has joined our program,” Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said. “He is a dual-threat quarterback who adds depth to that position heading into the fall. Patrick is talented and I’m excited to add him to the mix as we head into the ACC this season.”
Thomas was set to join UAB to play for head coach Garrick McGee, but McGee left the Blazers to take an assistant coaching position under Petrino. McGee is Louisville’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Thomas will have three years of eligibility remaining and will be eligible to play this season for the Cardinals as the school enters the ACC. He will compete with Will Gardner, Brent Nelson, and Kyle Bolin for the starting job. Gardner is the only quarterback with playing experience last season for Louisville. Bolin is a talented prospect who was took a redshirt last season. Nelson transferred to Louisville from junior college last season. Louisville has also added another former junior college quarterback with the addition of Tyler Ferguson, who transferred from Penn State after backing up Christian Hackenberg at Penn State in 2013. Ferguson had transferred to Penn State from junior college as well and must sit out the 2014 season at Louisville due to NCAA transfer rules.
In one year at Georgia Military College, Thomas passed for 1,695 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas led Georgia Military College to a record of 11-1 and a trip to the junior college championship game against East Mississippi Community College.