As a positional group, the quarterbacks for Louisville football are in an entirely different place than a year ago.
After Jawon Pass started the first two games of 2019 before a season-ending injury, Micale Cunningham established himself as the starting quarterback with progressive improvement during his redshirt sophomore year.
Cunningham has received a bevy of attention with preseason award watch lists including the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, Davey O’Brien, Maxwell and Manning awards. The 6-foot-1 Montgomery, Ala. native threw for 2,061 yards and 22 touchdowns while setting a program record for passing efficiency last season.
While Pass was sidelined with a foot injury, Evan Conley was the only other scholarship quarterback available last fall. He appeared in seven games as a freshman, throwing for 613 yards and four touchdowns.
With Cunningham and Conley back, Pass recovered from foot surgery and freshman Tee Webb added, the quarterback room is entirely different this season.
“As a group it has been good seeing those guys compete,” Cunningham said. “We have been doing a good job progressing as a group.”
Quarterbacks coach Frank Ponce says the group has shown improvement throughout fall camp.
“It’s always a little bit relaxing and stress relieving for a coach to have several guys in the room that can play at a high level,” Ponce said. “All three guys have done it.”
Cunningham has progressed this offseason with work on his accuracy and understanding of the quarterback position while Pass and Conley competed for the backup position.
Ponce has noticed growth from both quarterbacks vying for playing time.
“They want to get an opportunity to play at some point,” Ponce said. “They are out there competing really hard.”
Pass started against Notre Dame and Eastern Kentucky last season before suffering a foot injury. He threw for 134 yards and rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns against the Irish. He threw for four touchdowns in Louisville’s victory over Eastern Kentucky.
Ponce said the redshirt senior’s mind is in a good place heading into his final season of college football.
“Puma is a very level-headed kid, he understands that he is working himself back into playing mode,” Ponce said. “He is excited.”
In their second year of playing under head coach Scott Satterfield’s offense, Cunningham says the returning quarterbacks have a better understanding of the offense.
“Considering this is our second year in the offense, the guys know where to go and where to be,” Cunningham said. “Last year I felt like we were learning on the run.”
While Cunningham, Pass and Conley have experience leading Louisville to wins, Webb continues to adjust to the collegiate level.
He has flashed his talents in practices as he learns the college game.
“Tee is very young and he is still learning,” Ponce said. “He has a ways to go, but he shows signs that he is going to be a good one.”
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