Louisville redshirt sophomore Will Gardner has some massive shoes to fill this season. The Douglas, GA., native will step in and take the place Teddy Bridgewater, who is arguably the best quarterback to ever put on the Cardinal uniform.
Gardner committed to Louisville in July of 2011, choosing Louisville over Alabama and Mississippi State. He was only rated as a 3-star prospect, but when fans see a kid chose Louisville over Alabama, it’s going to cause some excitement.
Unfortunately for Gardner he has had some terrible luck with injuries from 2010-2012. During his senior season Gardner tore his ACL causing him to miss all but two games of his senior campaign. To make matters worse, once arriving at Louisville he had another setback, reinjuring his knee.
He served as Louisville’s fulltime back-up QB during the 2013 season, but played very few snaps. He was thought to be the leader to take the starting gig in 2014, but when Bobby Petrino arrived back at Louisville, he made it clear that there was no clear cut starter just yet. A couple of weeks into spring practice and Coach Petrino and changing his tune.
“He’s a really good fit,” Petrino tells ESPN. “He has presence in the pocket, good size and a quick release and he’s still a great athlete. That’s the one thing I didn’t realize when I first got here is how athletic he is. He had a great week of strength and conditioning testing, showed his competitive spirit and leadership with the other players. That’s when you started to see we might have something special here before it’s all over with.”
Gardner is still young and inexperienced, but he’s been one of the bigger bright spots throughout the spring. He’s fully aware of just how lucky he is to be a part of an offense like Bobby Petrino’s.
“That’s every quarterback’s dream, to have a coach like Coach Petrino,” Gardner tells ESPN.
Fans will get a chance to see Gardner in action on Friday evening at the annual Spring Game.