Louisville and Auburn kickoff the 2015 six weeks from today. In honor of those six weeks, here are six plays from likely Louisville starter Reggie Bonnafon that show some of what he's capable of and how he'll be used.
Touchdown Pass vs Murray State - There were plenty of eyebrows raised in the pressbox after Bonnafon dropped this pass over three defenders for a touchdown against Murray State. Watching the game live it was almost impossible to see how he was able to get it to Michaelee Harris but he did. It showed both his touch when he sets his feet and throws confidently, as well as his willingness to make tight throws without hesitation.
3rd Down Completion vs Notre Dame - I thought this was the best throw of any Louisville quarterback in 2014. On 3rd and 12 on Louisville's third possession at Notre Dame, Bonnafon hit Kai De La Cruz in stride as De La Cruz split Notre Dame's two-deep coverage. The pass went for 52 yards and setup Louisville's second touchdown a few plays later.
Touchdown to DeVante Parker vs Notre Dame - This pass gave Louisville the lead back at Notre Dame. A lead they would not relinquish the rest of the night. Notre Dame did a pretty good job on Parker but Reggie showed, again, pretty nice touch and they were able to take advantage of one of the few times Notre Dame slept on Parker. He barely missed another one to Parker in the 4th quarter on a throw where he was hit helmet to helmet by a Notre Dame defender.
Touchdown Pass to Parker vs Boston College - This pass came after Will Gardner left the game with what would be a season-ending injury on the previous series. Bonnafon came into the game cold after Louisville blocked a Boston College punt and after a holding penalty wiped out his 11 yard gain for a first down, Bonnafon dropped this one to Parker over the squatting corner but under the safety for a touchdown.
Zone Read Touchdown Run vs Notre Dame - Bonnafon actually scored twice on exactly the same play. You can see him properly read the crashing defensive end (#45) and keep it to the outside for a touchdown. This kind of run both from the shotgun and from the pistol formation figure to be a significant part of the running game in 2015 if Bonnafon (or Lamar Jackson) is the quarterback.
Jogging Bootleg Touchdown Run vs Boston College - To ice the game for good, Bonnafon kept the ball on a bootleg at Boston College and if you're reading this, you were the closest defender to him on the field. You can actually see Kai De La Cruz looking for someone to block on his half of the field (and the camera man totally getting suckered by the play fake). Play-action passing and bootleg action both running and throwing have always been a part of Petrino's offenses and
Was Reggie a perfect quarterback in 2014? Of course not. You don't need me to tell you that. He clearly was rattled at Clemson, threw a bad interception at Syracuse and a worse one in the bowl game against Georgia. Nevertheless, as a true freshman playing quarterback for the second year ever while also grieving the sudden loss of his father, he showed quite a bit to be excited about as well.
He's got work to do with decision making and footwork, but the raw physical skills and touch are there. If he makes the customary freshman-to-sophomore leap, Louisville should be just fine at quarterback in 2015.