If there is one easily identifiable individual improvement in Spring Practice so far, it’s the evolution of Lamar Jackson. Evaluating Quarterbacks in non-contact practice sessions is always difficult to fully assess but it’s clear that Lamar has taken steps to renovate his game, particularly passing the ball. But Lamar isn’t just better on his throws (his deep ball has dramatically improved) his decision making on zone reads has also gotten better. Jackson’s energy in the practices we observed was off-charts finishing runs beyond the cone (35-yards down field) and hustling back to the huddle to run the next play.
Lamar Jackson isn’t a finished product, but 2016 will see the next stage of Lamar moving from a QB playing off instinct to a Signal Caller that understands the concepts of what Petrino is trying to achieve within his offense and how to attack defenses. Additionally Lamar’s understanding of the offense & his role within the offense will include the involvement of his other skill players, most namely the running backs. It will also make the wide receivers more dangerous knowing that Jackson will continue his progressions longer. An unnamed assistant coach at yesterday’s practice said after a sensational Lamar Jackson play, “I can’t wait to see that in a game.”
We’ve all seen the contributions of Kyle Bolin during his time at UofL. Bolin during Spring is an unchallenged #2 Quarterback. As is usually the case with sophomore to juniors Kyle’s improvement isn’t as noticeable as it was from his freshman to sophomore year. At this point Bolin is refining his craft. Louisville will likely need to call on Kyle once again for a stretch in a critical situation and Cardinal fans (and his coaches) know what Bolin is capable of.
Post-Spring Thought on Quarterbacks: It will be very interesting to see the readiness of Jawon Pass. Petrino & Co have largely moved Reggie Bonnafon out of the QB spot and Kyle Bolin has a great deal of game experience. It will be interesting to see if Louisville has to go away from Lamar Jackson during a game (for injury or performance) which QB comes off the bench. Does situation depend? Does Petrino want to keep the Redshirt on Pass and put the experience of Kyle Bolin on the field?