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New season, similar question for Louisville quarterbacks

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby Petrino needs to pick a quarterback for Louisville's season-opening game against Auburn. That is certain. And aside from the fact that he will do so ahead of a big first weekend, there may not be a definitive answer regarding the rest of the season after the showdown with the Tigers.

So here's the question that will likely be asked beyond week one:

Does Louisville need to ride with one quarterback to be at its best?

It's something we pondered last season thanks to a combination of injuries and starter changes, and given Louisville's strong 9-4 record in its inaugural ACC season, the jury is still out on the answer.

The simple answer here is that naming a starter and sticking with him would breed good chemistry with an overhauled group of receivers that could pay off down the road.

If that's the case, Reggie Bonnafon seems like the relatively easy choice given the promise he showed as a true freshman a year ago. If Bonnafon continues to build confidence around his strong arm and athletic ability in his sophomore season, he could turn into a stable answer for a while.

Petrino may not be too concerned about longevity with promising freshman Lamar Jackson on campus and prized recruit Jawon Pass on the way. Still there's no concrete way of knowing that Bonnafon can't keep growing and be a top option even with those two on the roster — another argument for going with him and committing to his growth this season.

While most successful teams have a constant at the quarterback position, Mark Ennis brought up an excellent point at the end of his excellent quarterback preview: finding a way to mix in Jackson's athleticism could at least make for some interesting wrinkles in the conversation.

In that scenario, there unfortunately isn't much room for Will Gardner or Kentucky game hero Kyle Bolin, but it may be the best route for the present and the future.

With all of that said, as our Keith Wynne and Petrino himself have both reported, Gardner is looking strong in his bounce back from yet another knee injury. Stranger things have happened than a coach trusting his oldest and most experienced option.

For the sake of continuity, one quarterback works best. However, if last season taught us anything, it's that Louisville has a stable of quarterbacks that can all win, perhaps making complete continuity less of a priority.

We know from Petrino's previous comments that Bonnafon started with a slight advantage in the battle for the starting job. So far, it appears that he's done little to lose that edge. If he continues down that path, there's likely little that will stop him from being Louisville's man on September 5.

Beyond the Auburn game, who knows for sure?

We'll all find out soon.