Micale Cunningham has developed into a "True No. 1" QB for Louisville

MatthewMcGavic

A lot can happen in about a month's worth of time of time.

When Louisville released their preseason depth chart for the 2020 season back on June 7, Micale Cunningham was listed as the starter with fifth year Jawon "Puma" Pass as the backup. However a week earlier, quarterbacks coach Frank Ponce made a note to say that Cunningham & Pass were more along the lines of "1a and 1b".

But since the start of the preseason and into fall camp, the Montgomery, Ala. native has made significant strides in his overall game.

"He did a phenomenal job just learning and spending time in the film room asking questions. He really made a decision to become a better passer," Ponce told reporters in a teleconference Wednesday after practice. "He's done some things on film during camp that it makes you very proud of the progress that he's made."

In fact, the redshirt junior has taken a big enough step forward that Ponce believes he has more of a stranglehold on the starter's role than he did a month ago.

"(Micale) Cunningham has developed himself into a true No. 1, and then you have Puma (Pass) and (Evan) Conley now battling for No. 2," he said. "He's separated himself a little bit from the other guys. He's done extremely well in practice."

Over 12 games and 11 starts in 2019, Cunningham threw for 2,061 yards and 22 touchdowns while rushing for 482 yards and six scores. His completion percentage of 62.36% ranked as the fifth-best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, his passing efficiency of 194.79 would have been second only to Joe Burrow had it qualified nationally.

Ponce is now "very excited" about the game that Cunningham brings to the Cards' offense. He goes as far to call a "triple threat" quarterback - someone who has arm power, arm accuracy, and the ability to run.

Cunningham himself notes that the staff has helping him with his decision making in the time they have been on campus, and they have helped him break the run first mentality.

"Coach Ponce came in and made me a great decision maker," he said. "I got a lot better on just knowing where to go with the ball, and if it's not there not forcing it. Just throw it away, find my back, or take what I can get with my legs."

Louisville will return to the practice fields Thursday morning at 9:30am for their ninth practice of fall camp. The Cards are set to kickoff the season against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Cardinal Stadium.

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