Time Off Should Allow Bridgewater to Heal
Despite being limited by a broken left (non-throwing) wrist and a tweaked ankle, Louisville sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater performed at a very high level in leading the 18th-ranked Cardinals to a 20-17 BIG EAST Conference title clinching win at Rutgers last Thursday. Despite not entering the game until the second quarter, the Miami native threw for 263 yards on 20-of-28 passing with two touchdowns as the Cardinals booked their second BCS bowl berth in school history. With 33 days between the win in Piscataway and the Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup with Florida, Bridgewater should have plenty of recovery time prior to the showdown with the Gators.
“We have some time with Teddy, so we are going to try to get him healthy for this game,” Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said on Monday. “If you look at it, it’s the wrist and the ankle. We have some time off here where we should be able to get him prepared. I know our medical staff for the Rutgers game; it was 24 hours around the clock. We have some time here now so we can take our time. I don’t even know if he is going to have surgery just yet. With the staff, we are all going to get together and we’ll make that decision.”
End of Regular Season Provides Recovery Time from Bumps and Bruises
Bridgewater isn’t the only Cardinal who will benefit from the layoff between games. Like all teams, Louisville had collected its fair share of short-term injuries from the weekly grind of the college football season. According to Strong, most of those bumps and bruises should have plenty of time to heal allowing the Cardinals to be much healthier for their first ever appearance in the 79th edition of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
“Well, I’m just thinking here Teddy was probably our biggest issue going into the Rutgers game,” said Strong. “But, I think you’re going to get (Lorenzo) Mauldin back. DeAngelo Brown played a couple of plays in the Rutgers game and he’s going to be able to come back. No way Senorise (Perry) will be back. For the rest of those guys that have nicks and bruises, they will be able to get back. I think Sheldon Rankins will be back.”
Strong Provides Practice Schedule Overview
The first step in any January bowl preparation begins with time off for the players and coaches to recover and the Louisville practice plan is no different. During his press conference on Monday, Strong provided a brief outline of the Cardinals’ practice plan in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 2 matchup with Florida.
“We’re going to practice this weekend,” explained Strong. “Then, we have finals coming up, so we are going to wait for final exams to end. Then, we are going to go from there and we’re really going to practice every day from there out.”
Bowl Practices Give Cardinals Added Reps Before January
With so many days to prepare for a bowl opponent, the Cardinals will spend as much time, if not more, on improving what they do rather than focusing on the game plan for the Gators. Having only 10 scholarship seniors on the 2012 roster, Louisville can use the added practice time, especially the numerous days before departing for New Orleans, to work on improving the fundamentals and techniques of its underclassmen. The bowl prep can serve as a very beneficial practice time for the future of the program as it leads into the return to the practice fields in the spring.
“Well it’s big,” Strong said of the additional practice time leading up to the Sugar Bowl. “You need these practices because when you get into January, you have to go through what we call a discretionary period. The players can’t do anything, so it’s good to get these practices in now before that period hits you after the game.”