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The Cardinal Countdown: 4 Days Until Kickoff

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Louisville v Rutgers
Sunny Will Stein
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

#4 Jawon ‘Puma’ Pass

Class: RS Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 6-4/231

Position: Quarterback

Hometown: Columbus, GA

Twitter: @N/A

Thoughts: Jawon Pass may go down in the history of Louisville football as the most talked about player to have never started a game. Feel free to hop in the DeLorean, crank the thing to 88, and go see for yourself. Here on ‘Card Chronicle’ alone brief mentions of him began back in early 2014 with the recruitment of his brother Khane. Upon Khane’s commitment that chatter grew a little louder, and then a little louder, and basically hasn’t stopped for almost four years. FOUR. YEARS. The University had just lost Teddy to the draft at that time and was in year one of the ACC with Will Gardner when whispers of ‘the next Cam Newton’ began floating around Cardinal Stadium. Lamar Jackson had yet to even step foot on campus. The buildup for Jawon ‘Puma’ Pass has been prolonged to say the least…and now we finally get to see what Puma can do.

If you want me to brag on Puma’s accolades you can go back and read my 2016 and 2017 posts, but to me we’re passed that point now. If you want to read up on Puma’s background and how he got to where he is today go read the great article by Jake Lourim over at the CJ, but to me that’s all in the past. If you want to watch a cool video about Puma taking the torch from Lamar and seeing some of his highlights from last year take a peek at the one below, but to me it’s now all behind us.

What I really want to see is 2018 Puma walk onto the field, suffer his new starting QB lumps in the first few weeks, and then light the world on fire. I want to tame expectations, I want to pump the brakes on the praise, I want fellow Cards fans to set realistic expectations, but I just can’t contain myself. There is zero doubt in my mind that Pass will make some bonehead mistakes this year and will look slightly unpolished at times, but there is also zero doubt that he is the real freakin’ deal and will add his name onto the list of Louisville QB’s that walk out of the program as a beloved person, leader, and winner.

You’ve read 100 articles, seen 100 videos, and listened to 100 hours of radio and podcast about Puma Pass. I’ll spare you another 300 words and wrap it up with this. All the hype leading up to this first start, all the anticipation about how good Pass will be, all the chatter about how Pass can be another prototypical Petrino QB….it will all be warranted. Sure, it’s tough to follow Lamar, but it was also tough to follow Teddy, and Brohm before him, and LeFors before him, and Redman before him…but yet somehow each has their own special place in our memory banks of Cardinal fandom. Be prepared to find some extra space in there for Puma.

Sweet Tweet:

No tweets from Puma anymore so check out this sweet Cover Page from the CJ highlighting Mr. Pass. Think Bobby would allow a live Puma on the sideline?!

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#4 TreSean Smith

Class: Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 6-1/202

Position:Safety

Hometown: Hamilton, OH

Twitter: @Tre11Smith

Thoughts: TreSean was the #1 safety in Ohio coming out of high school and a Top 40 safety nationally last year…and I projected/hoped he wouldn’t play much in 2017 because of the veterans we had in the secondary. He played all 13 games.

Once he got on campus TreSean showed he was all business and I’ll give this one individual tip of the cap to Coach Sirmon, Smith belonged on the field last year, and he had the foresight to put him there. His athleticism showed up in Game 1 when Purdue ran a flea flicker and he ended a promising drive with an INT. You can see it slightly better from the endzone view on the replay but TreSean peaked into the backfield on the handoff, recognized the pitch, caught up to his man, flipped his hips to find the ball, got great position on the receiver, and pulled in a nice grab with a man draped on his back. Heck of play in general, unreal play from a true freshman in Week 1....

TreSean elevated his game in multiple areas last year finishing the season with 2 interceptions, 34 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 sack (The football equivalent of a “five tool” player if you will). The dark spot on the 2017 season for TreSean was of course the nasty injury in the Bowl game which kept him out of spring ball completely and has still resulted in him seeing mostly noncontact stuff during the fall. I know Petrino hoped he would still be good to go come ‘Bama Time’ but as recently as last week he said he still wasn’t at 100% and it was a day-to-day thing, then yesterday in the press conference he said he should be good to go Saturday and had slotted in the two deep on the Depth Chart behind Khane Pass at Free Safety. [shoulder shrug] I’ll take it!

In 2018 the BVG defense will rely on help over the top more so than what we saw last year just due to pressure/aggressiveness alone. In addition, the base 4-3 or the 4-3 mod he runs with the LB up on the line will also force safety help to be key in preventing quick hitters from going for long yardage. Since I predicted TreSean to start making impact plays THIS year instead of last I’ll stick with my guns and say that once he gets back to 100% he takes over the starting spot and likely steals some PT from Khane and others, I think he’s got the potential to be an all-conference athlete before its said and done and he works on continuing to build that reputation in 2018.

Sweet Tweet:

Old me did the same thing when I hit a pothole TreSean, but new me smashes that “INFO” button with a quickness until I see my tire pressures…and then I stare intently at them for a solid 30 seconds praying they don’t start to drop.