It’s been since Brian Brohm, that a Louisville player has seen the amount of attention that Teddy Bridgewater has now.
In his own words, Bridgewater would call it being ‘G.U.M.P’ (Great Under Major Pressure), however you slice it, Bridgewater has it. Whether it’s appearing on ESPN’s Car Wash, Being a Heisman Candidate or appearing front and center for major media outlets; ‘The Ted’ has been everywhere. The spotlight is squarely shinning on Bridgewater, he’s ready for it and he thrives in it.
“At first he didn’t really want this team and he didn’t want to be the leader of this team,” Head Coach Charlie Strong said Tuesday at AAC Media Day. “But the way he’s grown and developed, he has no choice but to be [the leader]. He’s ready for the challenge. It’s been fun to watch his development and I think that he can handle it.”
While Bridgewater may not have immediately embraced the leadership role, he had no problem performing under the spotlight. Cardinal fans saw that leadership early in his career.
On the road, against arch-rival Kentucky, Louisville needed someone to be a hero. Starting Quarterback Will Stein went down with a game ending injury, and momentum was shifting to the Wildcats favor. The Cardinals turned to Bridgewater. He gave us our first glimpse of his greatness, a comeback win and Louisville’s first Governor’s Cup win in two years. With all of the lights shining on Bridgewater in Commonwealth Stadium, he delivered two touchdown strikes that sealed the game.
It was only the beginning.
“Just the poise he had tonight. We expected it.” Charlie Strong said after that game.
He would find himself talking about Bridgewater’s poise in high pressure games, more and more as time went on. In fact, Bridgewater has historically preformed better in games against ranked opponents than he has against unranked foes. During his career at Louisville, Bridgewater, has never lost to a Top 25 opponent. He’s averaged 256 yards per game, along with a 69.5% average completion rating, while averaging 8.7 yards per pass. It pales in comparison to his nine losses against less talented, unranked teams,while recording a 59% completion rating. Obviously this is a small sample size, but it’s nearly impossible not to talk about Bridgewater’s spotless record against ranked opponents.
When asked about having poise under pressure, Bridgewater responded simply with ‘I get it from my Mom’. Bridgewater’s Mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when Teddy was a teenager. He claims her strength and poise under pressure, gave him a great message.
Whether you look at the Sugar Bowl win- in which Louisville-Florida were the National Main Attraction-, the win at Rutgers that got them there, or the comebacks, oh the comebacks; one thing is clear, Teddy Bridgewater preforms under the bright lights. He’s done little in his past that would make one think he would shy away from the brightest of lights during the upcoming 2013 season.
The field is not the only place Bridgewater appears to preform under the spotlight. In his recent ESPN smorgasbord known as the ESPN ‘Car Wash’, Teddy preformed flawlessly. On ‘First Take’, he was asked questions about his teams mistakes (notable losses against Syracuse, Uconn), instead of making excuses, Teddy took ownership saying they ‘got too fat and happy’. On ‘Sportscenter’ he was asked questions about his head-turning performances, the ever-so-humble Bridgewater deflected the praise to his teammates, saying ‘It wouldn’t be possible without them’.
Scott Van Pelt called him impressive.
Stephan A Smith called him humble.
Nevertheless, the constant message from Bridgewater on ESPN was simply this:
“It’s about Championships.”
“It’s about my teammates.”
“It’s not about me.”
That’s pretty impressive for a guy that’s turning heads like Bridgewater. We shouldn’t be surprised at this point.
Whether it was caring for his ailing Mother at age 14 or leading comebacks on the football field, Bridgewater has made it a regular thing to be quite ‘G.U.M.P’ indeed.
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