Last season: Lamar Jackson followed his 2016 Heisman campaign with another Heisman-worthy season. Don’t take this as a disservice to Lamar Jackson, but I’m not going to spend much of this article talking about the greatest player in Louisville/college football history. Like this team has to do, we as fans also have to move on from Lamar and shift our focus to our QB now, Puma Pass.
In the 5 games that Puma saw action, he went 23-33 for 238 yards with 2 touchdowns and a passer rating of 150.3. While his competition was mainly the reserve units, he still showed off his arm strength and accuracy. He also ran for 62 yards on 13 carries with 1 touchdown, showcasing his athleticism.
This season: Puma (Jawon) Pass enters this season as the starting quarterback with obvious big shoes to fill. Puma was recruited by Alabama, but chose Louisville over the Crimson Tide. Puma standing at 6’4″ 230+lbs, fits Bobby Petrino’s pocket passer mold. While he showed off his wheels a couple times last year when given the opportunity, Puma’s running ability is more comparable to Teddy Bridgewater’s. He will use his legs when he needs to, but will rely mainly on his arm for his production.
Should things go wrong, redshirt freshman Malik Cunningham backs up Puma. Cunningham’s skill set is similar to Lamar’s when he first arrived on campus. Behind Cunningham is true freshman Jordan Travis. Travis might have the advantage in terms of passing over Cunningham so the backup role will be interesting to keep an eye on.
Outlook: Life after Lamar Jackson will be different for everyone. However, I believe the offense is in good hands with Puma Pass taking over. He fits Bobby’s system better than Lamar did and we’ve all been begging for Bobby Ball to return. This season we may get what we’ve been asking for.