Petrino Talks Will Gardner and Lamar Jackson

Photo: Tim Haag/
Photo: Tim Haag/

At the Governor’s Cup Luncheon on Wednesday, Bobby Petrino covered multiple topics when talking about the upcoming season. He also updated the health of Will Gardner and talked about incoming freshman Lamar Jackson. To this point, the quarterback battle has been a three-player race between Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin, and Tyler Ferguson.

Could Will Gardner get healthy enough to become a factor in the race? Is a true freshman (Jackson) ready to step in and compete for the job? Here is what he had to say about both players.

Transcript from Steve Jones of


We do. He’s had very good work here the last month, and he’s really made tremendous improvement. He’s ahead of schedule, but yet we’re pulling the reins back and making sure that he only does what the previous schedule told him to do. But he says he’s felt better than he’s ever felt, better than after the first time he had surgery. The unknown is that it’s a third surgery on the same knee and what happens will when he start torquing the knee, when he starts running, changing the direction. He’s doing great with that, but how he responds with he starts torquing it and delivering the football is the concern. But Will is very confident. We feel like he can get in the competition when we start practice in August, be 100 percent and ready to go.


Lamar is a very, very talented young guy. We’re very proud to have him as one of our newcomers at the quarterback spot. He’s a guy who has a very live arm. We liked his delivery, his ability to get the ball out of his hand quickly and how accurate of a passer he was with also carrying the load and making plays with his legs. That’s also one of the things he was real special about, not just throwing it but being able to run. All he has to show us is how quickly he can learn and adapt and adjust to college football and what we’re going to ask him to know about protections and the run game and the other things it takes to be a quarterback besides throwing the ball and running. It’ll be fun to see how that all plays out. The benefit that freshmen have now is we get to spend time with them now in the offseason in the summer, just like (returners get) the offseason in the winter. He’ll be in the classroom with Coach (Garrick) McGee and learning the offense, not just from the other players.

Needless to say, it will be a very interesting fall camp when that time rolls around. You could really see a quarterback competition with five guys trying to get the spot. And no matter how it shakes out, I don’t see Bobby Petrino announcing who the starter is heading into the Auburn game. Why show your hand if you don’t have to? This also means that no matter who does get the job, I will be very confident in the backup and the overall depth of the position.

Fall camp will be here before you know it!

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