As Sept. 1 inches closer and closer, the talk surrounding new U of L quarterback Will Gardner is only going to get louder and louder.
Gardner's situation is so intriguing for Cardinal fans because it's the first time in recent memory where Louisville is entering a season with a clear QB1 who hasn't taken a meaningful snap in an actual game. People knew guys like Hunter Cantwell and Will Stein before they started in week one, and in 2009 there was a big competition between Justin Burke and Adam Froman, but Gardner stands alone in being untested both in terms of his in-game experience and competition for the starting job. It's a little encouraging, and a little scary.
Bobby Petrino attempted to ease the fears of Louisville fans on Thursday by singing the praises of his first Cardinal signal caller since Brian Brohm.
"He's a young man who is extremely coachable, very intelligent and really into it," Petrino said in a story published by USA Today. "When you talk about dedication and commitment, Will has done all of that.
"He's a student of the game. He spends a lot of time working at it, studying other quarterbacks, studying the offense. He's a type of player that you want to have, that you want to cheer for and do well. It's our job as coaches to prepare him so he can go out there and perform."
Someone close to the program recently told me that Gardner looks "more impressive than Teddy did" during practice, but also warned that there's no way to know whether or not something like that will translate to in-game success until a guy is actually thrown into that fire.
Teddy was a guy who had all the intangibles. He was a "gamer" who had the instincts necessary to make the most important of plays, and that's what made him a great football player as opposed to just a great talent.
It's safe to say to know we won't really have an idea of what we have in Will Gardner until Sept. 1. Still, the early returns are promising.