It will be called the beginning

We're trying out some new blood here at Card Chronicle. Here's a submission by Andrew Phelps.

By Andrew Phelps

At the time, and in the moment, it was not seen as significant. 300 pound linemen land on top of 5’9 quarterbacks all the time, and no worries Will, most of us would’ve hobbled to the sideline too after being crushed the way you were. When major events occur, it is not often realized until reviewed in hindsight just how significant that event was. When Teddy Bridgewater jogged into the huddle and took his first snap, all of us were expecting his time to be brief and conservative. Three quarters, two touchdowns, one field goal, and no interceptions later Teddy Bridgewater had guided the youthful Cardinals to a dominating victory over our arch rival Kentucky. It is a momentum changing win, an end to the Wildcats' streak, but in a few years it will be much more. Teddy Bridgewater and Charlie Strong will lift a BCS trophy together, when they do, all of Cardinal Nation will look back at that moment in the second quarter against UK, and remember it as the beginning.

Where does Louisville and Coach Strong go from here is the question and debate. Reports from practice state Stein is still wearing a sling and is questionable for the game Saturday, so Coach’s decision could be an easy one this week. I am not a coach, and do not attend practices regularly, and I have faith our staff will make the best decision for the future of our team. However, I do have an opinion. For almost two decades, the Louisville Cardinals had one position of consistency on their football team, and that was quarterback. Since the arrival of he who must not be named, quarterback has been the weakest part of our team. So it comes as no surprise our records were what they were being QB is the most important roster spot. The recruitment of Mr. Bridgewater and his arrival on campus cements the reemergence of UofL as Quarterback U.

I agreed with Strong’s decision to allow Will Stein to start the season. Stein is a worker, he’s earned everyone’s respect and he has been here through the bad and is attempting to bring us the good. But I believe his time as a starter should be over. Bridgewater was brought here to play quarterback, to play early and to be the face of our program for many seasons. His talent is unquestioned, but his ability to lead this team as a true freshman was unknown, unknown until September 17th in Lexington. He proved he is ready by winning. He went on the road, tamed the hostile crowd, and accomplished something a previous senior and a junior could not. With Bridgewater under center, our offense took on a new dimension. For the first time since 2007, I had the feeling our team had big play ability. I mean no disrespect to Cantwell, Froman, Burke, or Stein but you inspired no excitement into our offense. My opinion is this: when a five star recruit is signed, you know and believe he is the future of your program, he is given playing time as a true freshman, and then he proceeds to showcase his talent and win a crucial road game, he has earned the start, should start and will start.

Game four brings the Marshall Blundering Herd into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. I am not sure what to make of this football team. It is clear they don’t really do anything well, but they had a solid win against Southern Miss, and hung around West Virginia and VA Tech. Looking over their roster and game statistics it appears they have a solid running back in Tron Martinez. He has failed to score but is averaging 5.3 yards a carry. Aaron Dobson appears to be their go to receiver, and boasts 20 receptions and four touchdowns. Their quarterback is a freshman and the offensive line has allowed nine sacks. Nothing they do should scare us, and I will be very disappointed if they reach 20 points. BJ Butler, Scruggs, Philon, Savoy, and Salmon should have a field day and I expect them to continue to showcase the strength and speed they displayed against UK. On offense, we have already addressed the quarterback issue, but I would like to see Sanford allow Teddy full use of the playbook and really attack downfield. The UK game was great, but I felt our coaches were a little too conservative at times and we missed some crucial opportunities to really bury the Cats. Bridgewater is the first quarterback we have had with an arm since 2008, let him use it. It is also important for the Cards to continue the success of the ground game. Anderson and Wright struggled in games one and two, but the resurfacing of Dominque Brown gives the team a bruising third option, and should open holes for Wright and Vic. The bye week also provided Louisville with a chance to get healthy, and our best lineman, Benavides, should make his season debut. Bridgewater and Brown were key parts to the UK victory, but the offensive line is what won that game. They protected Teddy and created holes to run through, and our offense was finally able to move the chains. If this unit continues to progress, 7-9 wins is possible. The Cards are an 11.5 point favorite, and I expect them to cover the spread. A new energy and excitement surrounds the program, Cards win 38-13.
   
Landmark events have occurred throughout history, and very few have their importance realized at the moment of inception. In the next five, 10 or 20 years, Louisville fans and football fans alike will ask when the Charlie Strong era really began at Louisville. Answers will vary, some will say the bowl win his first year, others will point to the day of his actual hiring, and an argument could be made for his 2011 recruiting class. When the day comes, and Charlie announces his retirement from this University, I will look back at one moment. Teddy Bridgewater was given his opportunity, he took the reins of a young, but talented team, beat Kentucky and declared himself and the University of Louisville as the future. Teddy Bridgewater and the 2011 victory over Kentucky will be called the beginning.
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