Quarterbacks Coach Shawn Watson Addresses Position Battle


By Rocco Gasparro for Inside the Huddle

One of the hottest and most talked about competitions this summer has been that of quarterback position. Looking for its fifth starting quarterback in the last five years, the competition has been extremely fun to watch. However, Will Stein seems to have a leg up on the job due to Teddy Bridgewater experiencing a couple of nagging injuries during preseason camp.

“We’ll probably (let the competition) go at least until Sunday,” said U of L quarterback coach Shawn Watson. “We’ll have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to finish up our business offensively and evaluate. Then we’ll name a starter next week for Murray State.”

Stein, who has two career starts for the Cardinals in 2009 (against Arkansas State and West Virginia), is a true leader and just loves to play the game. According to Watson, Stein has done enough to warrant the starting job.

“Will has had a really good camp,” said Watson. “He’s had two really good scrimmages. He’s done very well and put himself in position to be the lead dog right now.”

Despite being a teammate of his, Bridgewater has been Stein’s main competitor. A four-star recruit from Miami, Fla., Bridgewater enrolled in January and has been in the mix all summer. However, the No. 2 nationally ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2011 has been limited because of shoulder and finger injuries.

“Teddy, at the same time, has been battling some nagging injuries and has had to battle back,” said Watson. “And this past Saturday, he had a really good scrimmage, too. It’s important at that position to have competition. They’ve had to compete every day and we’ll keep evaluating them.”

Head coach Charlie Strong’s practices are set up where all the team, 2-minute drills and no-huddle work are done at the end of practice. Typically, practice closes with some form of a two-minute drive.

“We’re ending practice with situational stuff, getting into more detailed situations that we do during a team or scrimmage period, and it helps expose the management aspect,” said Watson.

Experience is definitely going to be key, especially for a young football team that will likely have between 15-18 true and red-shirt freshmen in the two-deep. Stein has playing experience at the Division I level with two huge starts under his belt.

“Will has experience on his side and he has awareness because of that experience,” Watson said. “And Teddy has got big talent. He just doesn’t have the experience that Will does. That’s the difference you see on film right now, it’s an experience factor that gives Will an edge. We started camp that way and it has kind of proceeded through camp, but Teddy’s talent shows up on film too.”

The Cardinals are just one week away from starting their second season under Strong. Now, the only question will be who takes that first snap under center come next Thursday evening against Murray State on Sept. 1 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Either way, the Cardinals have options that are sure to excite the fans.

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Tickets are still available for the 2011 Louisville football season. Anyone interested in purchasing single-game tickets can go directly to the U of L Ticket Office from 9-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or visit the Ticketmaster website here.

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