Gators to have hands full with QB
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater threat to run or throw.
GAINESVILLE, FLA. — In preparing for Louisville quarterback and Miami native Teddy Bridgewater, Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn summed up what the Gators will face on Jan. 2 in two words - “dangerous” and “problem.”
Bridgewater is a dualthreat quarterback who can hurt defenses with his arm and his legs.
Helping lead the Cardinals to a 10-2 season and berth in the Sugar Bowl, Bridgewater ranks sixth nationally in completion percentage (69.0) while throwing for 3,452 yards and 25 touchdowns.
“With Louisville, the first thing that jumps out is their quarterback who can really make their team go,” Quinn said. “When you give a good quarterback time, and he’s an accurate thrower, they can make you look bad. . . . When he gets comfortable, he is a dangerous guy, and he’s a problem.”
Bridgewater had offers from Florida, LSU and Miami, but he chose to play for coach Charlie Strong at Louisville.
He had two games with more than 400 yards passing this season and is one of just nine quarterbacks in the nation to have a quarterback rating better than 160.0, helping earn him Big East Offensive Player of the Year.
In Louisville’s final game of the regular season, Bridgewater came off the bench to rally the Cardinals to 2017 win at Rutgers despite a broken wrist and ankle injury that prevented him from starting the game. He threw two TDs in the second half and finished 20 of 28 for 263 yards.
“He certainly earned our respect by being injured and coming back to play in a short week,” Quinn said. “You have respect for those kind of toughness moments that that guy certainly showed at the end of their regular season.”
Said Florida defensive tackle Omar Hunter: “Playing the quarterback position and being able to do that stuff shows a lot about you, being tough.”
Quinn said Florida has been using backup Tyler Murphy as a Bridgewater clone in practice in an attempt to get the defense ready. But the Gators’ unit should be plenty prepared for a quarterback of Bridgewater’s style, having seen a similar dual-threat option every day in practice in Florida QB Jeff Driskel. Plus, the Gators lead the nation in pass efficiency defense.