It was a very rough 2018 for Jawon Pass and the Louisville Cardinals football team. Nothing went as planned – even the 2 victories were struggles.
Jawon Pass was supposed to come in and take over for the best college football player ever at Louisville (Lamar Jackson). No pressure there – Right? It didn’t help expectations when, at ACC media day, Bobby Petrino was asked about the Louisville offense without Lamar, he said,
I expect us to be better. I expect us to be more balanced, the ability to get more guys involved, particularly in the running game. I really like our receiving corps coming back. I really think it’s one of the strongest corps coming back. I forgot Jaylen [Smith] missed three games and still had that many catches and that many touchdowns, and Dez [Fitzpatrick] is a guy that can really go get the ball and adjust to the ball. Seth [Dawkins] is a big, physical guy that really runs well after the catch.
Then at the annual football kickoff Luncheon, Petrino said of the game vs Alabama,
If we can get where we have every single guy on our team, every single coach on our team, to believe like I believe — because I believe we’re gonna go beat ’em — so I need everybody else to believe that. And we will go beat ’em.
Despite the added pressure from his coach, Jawon played admirably in the opener against defending champion Alabama. He completed 51.3% of his passes for 252 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also threw 2 interceptions.
Throughout the rest of the season, Jawon started only 9 games and was benched several times including in the WKU game where he threw only 3 passes (2 dropped by receivers) before being yanked in the 1st quarter. And don’t forget the game where he was pulled for freshman Jordan Travis, but the coaches forgot to tell him he was out.
His confidence was clearly shook and it was apparent by his indecisiveness on the field and his demeanor on the sideline.
It seemed that he was scared to make a mistake.
But 2019 is a new year and, by all accounts, a coaching change has instilled a sense of confidence in Jawon Pass and his teammates believe in him too.
We already knew he had all the physical skills to be a great quarterback. He just needed a coach to believe in him and help guide him instead of yell at him. He also gets a little easier offensive scheme to manage as well as an improved offensive line and a boat load of talented running backs lining up behind him. Not to mention the crazy talented receivers.
In my opinion, Jawon didn’t look any different in the Spring Showcase that he did in November of 2018. In the first scrimmage of fall camp on August 10th, nearly 6 months after the February Spring Showcase, Coach Satterfield said the quarterbacks struggled a little bit but that’s to be expected at the first scrimmage. After the second scrimmage, when asked how Jawon played, coach Scott Satterfield said,
Mentally, he was a lot better today, a lot more sharp in his decision-making.
With only 11 days till the opener against Notre Dame, Malik Cunningham is still on crutches and likely will miss the first three games (my assumption). Evan Conley is not quite ready to take the reins as a true freshman. So, no matter who you want to be the starting quarterback, you are getting Jawon Pass – and he is the best option.
According to his teammates, Jawon has learned how to be a leader and his confidence is increasing everyday. His head coach and his quarterback coach both believe in him. As we head into 2019, Jawon has no pressure and if he believes in himself, we will get the Jawon we hoped we were getting when he chose Louisville over Alabama. Despite the sub-par year, we still saw some flashes of the player he can be (video below).
This is Jawon’s team and here’s to hoping for a great year!
As Always, GO CARDS!