UofL Coach Bobby Petrino compares redshirt freshman QB Cunningham to Jackson, LeFors

UofL Coach Bobby Petrino compares redshirt freshman QB Cunningham to Jackson, LeFors
Bobby Petrino, head football coach at the University of Louisville. (Source: Doug Druschke)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Head Coach Bobby Petrino Monday compared redshirt freshman quarterback Malik Cunningham to some Cardinal famous faces, but wasn’t committing to what the QB position would look like going forward.

“Maybe I’ll call up (Alabama head coach Nick) Saban and see how he figured it out," Petrino joked. "I just really want to see (Jawon Pass) come out in practice and see how he’s moving around and going. Once I see that and see how we’re doing, then I’ll have a good idea.”

Pass came off the field in the third quarter of the Cards 31-7 win over Indiana State on Saturday. Petrino said Monday Pass has turf toe, a sprain in the big toe joint.

“Turf toe is not something that is easy to get over right away,” Petrino said. "It is very painful and it’s in his big toe and the joint in his big toe. It’s not a serious injury. It’s one that can bother you, especially as a quarterback, so we just got to see how he is and where he’s at. Malik’s just got to keep getting better, keep working at it, keep getting better.”

Cunningham came in during the third quarter and finished the day with six completions on seven attempts, 75 yards and one touchdown. His performance drew comparisons to Lamar Jackson and Stefan LeFors from Petrino.

“One of the things with a guy like Lamar Jackson, Malik Cunningham, Stefan LeFors, is you don’t know how good they are until it’s live,” Petrino said. “You do all your drill work, you do all your throws, you do all the plays, but until it’s live and you have to tackle them, you might not know how good they are. He’s just a great athlete, a tremendous athlete. Good instincts, feels it - can feel it sometimes - but you coach to technique and you coach the reads, the progressions, understanding protections. But, they have to have instincts.”

Petrino began the press conference by praising the special teams.

" I saw a lot of good things," Petrino said. “I saw improvement. Our special teams played really well. I think Mason (King) had a 44-yard average and no return yards at all against us, so it was a huge advantage there. Our kickoff cover team did a great job. Guys ran with a lot of energy and showed a lot of speed on it, and very physical. I like that group. They take a lot of pride in it."

Looking ahead to Saturday night’s game against Western Kentucky, Petrino has a decision to make as to his starting signal caller, and he’s not giving any indication which way it’ll go. Petrino’s played two quarterbacks in tandem previously, Stefan LeFors and Brian Brohm. On Monday, the coach talked about that offensive combo.

“Going into the season, it was my idea that we’d have one and he’s our starter and we’d go play," Petrino said. "We have used two quarterbacks here before. When Stefan was a senior, we felt like Brian (Brohm) was going to be the future. We were really looking forward, so we brought him in the second quarter and he played the second quarter. He did a good job, it prepared him well. It was hard to defend us because it was like two different offenses. It was hard on Stefan. I think he did a good job of really focusing on the team in doing that. It’s really the only time I’ve played two quarterbacks. I’m not totally against it, but I think we need to get them healthy and see where they’re at.”

On Tuesday, former UofL greats Chris Redman and Deion Branch stopped by the WAVE 3 News studios and shared their thoughts on the 1-1 Cards:

Chris Redman, Deion Branch weigh in on 2018 Cards after 2 games

The Cards and Hiltoppers kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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