#11 B.J Dubose
Class: RS Senior
Position: Defensive Tackle
Hometown: Oakland Park, Fla
Thoughts: I’m cheering hard for Dubose this year. The kid came in looking like an absolute star as a freshman, playing in all 12 games and making an impact up front when we needed him. After running into some issues with the coaching staff as a sophomore and seeing his minutes decline last year, Dubose now has an opportunity as the starting DE to leave a lasting impression and potentially make the leap to the next level. While Dubose will see some pressure in the next few weeks from Pio, I think he’ll hold onto the starting spot and fit well into the new 3-4 scheme. He has a large frame and will hopefully allow some holes to assist the outside linebacker in blitzing situations or zone coverage’s in the flats. While he’s slightly undersized based purely on weight, he’s using that 6-5 wingspan to knock down a lot of balls in practice, which is going to give headaches to opposing offensive coordinators. All the reports on BJ this summer and during the last couple weeks are that he has stepped into the role of an on field leader, directing guys were to go and screaming out calls to the rest of the defense when he sees something. Hopefully we see the BJ of old and he plays well enough to position himself to get an opportunity to keep playing football after this season.
Sweet Tweet: No twitter for BJ, but in case you missed it on Monday, Yahoo! Released the "25 Most Intriguing Games of 2014"
Spoiler Alert: The Cards and Noles Oct. 30th match up checked in at #22.
#11 Will Gardner
Class: RS Sophomore
Hometown: Douglas, GA
Thoughts: You’ve probably heard Will Gardner’s name more this offseason than anyone else on the team. After playing the backup role to arguable one of the best players to ever put on a Louisville football jersey, the eyes of the Cardinals fans were on Will early and often to step into the starting role this year and not miss a beat. During the spring and now throughout the summer, Will has solidified his starting position and appears to have the full support of those around him. Every coach, wideout, offensive lineman, etc has had nothing but praise for Will and his newfound leadership role, whether it’s knowing the playbook inside and out or by calling out the defensive breakdowns during film sessions. So far, everything is going according to plan…and that scares the crap out of me.
Don’t call me crazy just yet, as there is some method to my madness. I really like Gardner and honestly think he’s going to be a hell of a quarterback for Louisville the next three years. He has the poise, the size, the skills and the brains to be an elite quarterback. The problem is, it appears everyone else thinks the same exact thing and it appears that all the pieces are in place for him to have a monster year. If Gardner could have drawn up his ideal journey at Louisville three years ago I think it would have gone something like this…
1. Freshman: Take a redshirt, sitting behind some good quarterbacks, get accustomed to the college life, the speed of the college game, and learn the basic skill sets required and expected of me to be a successful college quarterback.
2. RS Freshman: Play and learn behind one of the best quarterbacks in the country, not only getting game experience but learning the do’s and don’ts of team leadership, position development and film study.
3. RS Sophomore: Take over the role as starting QB with a new high powered offensive minded coach who loves to put points on the board and spread it all over the field. Be blessed with an outstanding receiving core that has tons of experience and puts me in a position to succeed even when I make mistakes.
Sound familiar? Everyone who wears the red and black is setting Will up to be an amazing QB who will rival Teddy and be the captain of one of the best offenses in the country in 2014. I really, really, really, hope that happens, more than anything. BUT, if it doesn’t I don’t want everyone to start railing on the kid who as of August 21st 2014 only has 12 passes under his belt in real games, and zero passes under the pressure of the big stage. The other elephant in the room, which only Petrino seems to acknowledge by bringing in 8 quarterbacks, is that Will has had two ACL surgeries in his very short career and among those seven appearances from last season he was only hit and/or tackled a hand full of times.
Maybe I’m overly cautious because I have extreme hatred for the "put in Bonnafon, this Gardner kid stinks!" guy who starts yelling after two incompletions. Is the offense going to be much more exciting than the last few years? All signs point to yes, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any bumps in the road. Hopefully this doesn’t come off as a Debbie Downer type post as the last thing I want to do is slow down the hype machine that has helped me chug through over 89 consecutive days of this countdown series. I’m pumped. I’m ready to bust through the wall, yell at the T.V., laugh at the Hurricanes being dismantled and watch this electrifying offense come to life just like everyone else, I just want us to be reasonable about it. If Gardner and the three-headed monster at running back come out and put up Brohm-Bush numbers I’ll be cheering louder than anyone, but if they don’t, let’s try and remain calm and realize that we’re one year into a new QB, new offense and new conference.
Good luck to @teddyb_h2o it's been a pleasure playing with you!!— Will Gardner (@willgardner_11) January 1, 2014
Hopefully with everything I said above the key point that resonates with most is my belief that Gardner is going to be a hell of a gunslinger when it’s all said and done. It’s always hard to replace a legend, but I love the steps we’ve taken thus far to try and do so.
Sorry if this came off as a little emotional. I’ve got John Legend playing while I type this and everything right now just seems so....so...beautiful.
"Love your hurls and all your fetches, all your QB misdirection’s"……ok, I took it too far.