By Noah Allison–
It’s not often everything goes according to plan in sports. The unpredictability and drama of sports are what make them one of the most beloved pastimes of life.
A year ago right now, young freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sitting on the bench, watching starter Will Stein take the snaps, waiting for his chance. One year later, starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater holds the hopes and expectations of an entire team, university and city in his hands.
“I came to this university with the goal of being the starter, things just didn’t start off that way. But God works in mysterious ways,” Bridgewater said.
In last year’s Kentucky game, then starting quarterback Will Stein had the Cardinals off to a good start with the lead until he went down with an injury. In came Bridgewater, the unsung and unproven freshman quarterback.
“My goal was just to keep the lead, manage the offense and lead the team to a victory,” Bridgewater said. “I felt very ready to lead the team as a freshman, thanks to the preparation of these coaches. They had me ready, practicing game-like situations so I could handle it when I went in.”
All Bridgewater did from that first snap on was throw for 14 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards in 11 games, lead the Cardinals to the Belk Bowl, and win the Big East Freshman of the Year. Now, he is leading a U of L football program that has higher expectations and a bigger buzz about them than any Louisville team in recent memory, but the sophomore stud isn’t letting the outside world’s expectations get to him or his team.
“We have no choice but to be calm. These coaches prepare us day in and day out with the game plan. We really have no choice but to be calm.”
As the season becomes more of a reality, it’s all about being as prepared as possible. While his freshman season was considered phenomenal, nothing but constant improvement is required to compete in the game of football.
“Being an athlete, you always have to be a student of the game, so there is always room for improvement in throwing the ball and being able to make the right reads,” Bridgewater said. “I’m managing the game very differently from last year, I’m realizing more, paying more attention to the game clock, getting in and out of the huddle smoother and playing with an up tempo.”
“The most important thing for me as the quarterback to have is just trust, you have to trust yourself, trust your personnel, trust your coaching staff and trust your team,” Bridgewater said.
Football truly is a team game; success simply isn’t possible unless all 11 Cardinals on the field are doing their job and playing for each other.
“U of L football is an intense program and an up-tempo program. I just expect my teammates and myself to go out and play U of L football and just execute the game-plans week in and week out,” Bridgewater said.
“I’m very excited for this season,” he continues. “I’m very excited for this university and this program; I’m excited for my teammates. We have been working hard all off-season. This fall camp, we really gave it our all, and it’s going to pay off this season.”
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal