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The Cardinal Countdown: 7 Days Until Kickoff

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#7 Reggie Bonnafon

Class: Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/208

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of Trinity High School)

Twitter: @RegSoSpiffy1

Thoughts: Around this time last year there were some rumblings about Reggie getting the start against Auburn. Nothing officially had been announced (and never was) but Reggie was playing well in practice and starting to separate himself from Bolin and Gardner. I pleaded, almost begged, that we get behind Reggie as the QB since there was some dissension among the fans if he was the best option. If nothing else I try and always give you my honest opinion on here and my take last season was that Gardner was the safe bet, but Reggie was ‘the future’ of Bobby ball. Some of the comments Petrino had made in the past, and way he was recruiting the quarterback position made me believe that he was shifting towards the mobile QB, who could not only hurt you with his arm, but his legs as well. Reggie ran a lot in 2014, some out of necessity, but a lot of designed runs as well. Reggie was the perfect fit for where Petrino wanted the QB position to go in the years ahead. Well, I wasn’t wrong. I just had the wrong ‘mobile’ QB singled out.

As we know, Reggie had some difficulties at QB early in the year, some of the same issues carrying over from 2014, and a few new ones emerging as well (lack of hussle on that fumble in the Auburn game still drives folks mad). With the 0-3 start last year we had significantly more questions about that team than answers, but one thing I think most knew for sure was that Reggie getting considerable reps at quarterback was probably done. So what happens to the uber-athletic Bonnafon who has shown on multiple occasions he deserves to be on the field? Petrino gets him on the damn field. Over the course of the next five games Reggie ran (132yds), caught (88yds), and even threw a few more passes (66yds/TD) to remain a major part of the offense attack. Petrino had a new weapon and you could tell he was still trying to figure out the different ways he could use it as we jumped back and forth between Lamar and Bolin running the show. I think he figured it out this offseason.

If you followed the press conferences, media interactions, etc since back in April with Petrino and Coach Galloway they discussed Reggie multiple times. He’s listed as a wideout and the majority of his snaps, I think, will come with him at that position (although he will still run some and probably throw a few passes as well). How good is Reggie picking up the slot position? Well, his talent has basically moved Quick to the outside and for the time being forced a very gifted Jaylen Smith to come off the bench. When you talk about who the ‘starting’ wideouts are in a group this deep its almost irrelevant (I learned that from Pitino), but in my mind it is at least noteworthy to see Reggie go back to his old high school position (through Junior year) and replace some talented receivers on the first team. At this point if they told me Reggie was getting first team reps at corner I’d buy it. The young man is that good.

While it’s been more emphasized on the defensive side of the ball there is no doubt that Bobby loves to have speed with the offense as well. We saw some flashes of the ‘speed package’ last year with Lamar and Reggie in the backfield and I’m sure we’ll see it again in 2016. When the confetti falls at the end of 2016 I think Reggie falls in the middle of the pack for both the receivers and running backs, probably having the fourth or fifth best yardage totals for both groups. He may not statistically be the best wideout, the best running back, or the best quarterback…but he’s pretty solid at all three, and having a ‘jack of all trades’ type athlete on the field can certainly be the difference in winning and losing games.

As much as I respect Reggie as an athlete I’ve been equally impressed with his character and composure over the last two years. From becoming the starting quarterback, losing his father, beating Notre Dame in South Bend, then losing the starting job, he has always represented himself and the University with class. As a fan you can’t ask for much more.

There may be a two man race currently for who I would let date my daughter between Bolin and Reggie. They can feel free to battle it out for….let’s say, the next 18 years or so. After all, she’s only four.

May the best man win.

Sweet Tweet:

Funny that you mention having a good week Reg, because we are exactly one week from kicking this thing off. 7 short little days. I mean the weekends fly by so Saturday and Sunday are out…Fridays we actually have real live football between Cal and Hawaii….Wednesday will be spent getting tailgate stuff ready or getting setup for the watch party at the house. I mean, we’re really only like 2 days away when you think of it like that. We can do that, right? We’ve been riding this thing for 93 days…let close out strong.