Ga­tors to have hands full with QB

Louisville’s Teddy Bridge­wa­ter threat to run or throw.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Mat­twatts The Mi­ami Her­ald

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.

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