Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Who is Teddy Bridgewater?

With all the hype leading up to the college football season, you've probably heard the name Teddy Bridgewater thrown around in Heisman discussions and quarterback debates.  But who exactly is this mysterious man? Well he's quite possibly the best football player in this year's draft class (yes, Jadeveon Clowney fans).  He's the guy who got his helmet blasted off on the first pass play from scrimmage in the Sugar Bowl last year, got back up, said "thank you sir may I have another" and then nonchalantly lead his team to one of the biggest upsets in BCS history over the nation's 2nd ranked Florida defense.  No, he doesn't have the flashy numbers that pop out to you on the TV screen, and he doesn't play the best competition on a week to week basis in his conference, but he is the best quarterback in college football.

 One reason why he's so good at what he does is his decision making ability.  Too often do college quarterbacks panic and look to take off when the feel pressure.  What makes Teddy so unique is the fact that he can sense pressure, escape it while keeping his eyes downfield, and hit the open man.  This ability was on full display in the Sugar Bowl against a far superior defensive line, but specifically against Cincinnati last season.  On one particular play, he felt the pressure from his right, climbed the pocket and threw a perfect strike 51 yards down the sideline to his receiver Damian Copeland.  This play, when observed closely, shows extreme maturity for a  true sophomore QB, and displays skills that many NFL  quarterbacks do not possess.

 Next, is his pass-first mentality.  Teddy is a passing quarterback first, but he is also dangerously fast.  In today's NFL of RG3s, and Russell Wilsons, having a mobile quarterback is extremely valuable.  Yet, what makes Teddy so valuable is how he uses his speed as a last resort.  When he has the ball, Teddy is thinking of doing only one thing: throwing it, even if that means taking a vicious hit.  A lot of QB's who are fast tend to use that speed as much as possible.  In his freshman year, Teddy fell victim to this impulse, yet this past year, often slowed by injury, he was forced to sit in the pocket and become effective that way, using his speed only when it was absolutely needed.  Because of this, his toughness and accuracy with the football were on full display for all scouts to see.

 Lastly, Teddy is the ultimate team player.  From a young age, the notion of 'team' was engrained in young Theodore when his mother was diagnosed with cancer.  Teddy was in high school  at the time and wanted to quit football so he could care for his mother or possibly get a job.  Fortunately, his mother urged him to stay with football and now she is cancer free.  Besides being a total momma's boy (which I love), Teddy is the only player to publicly refuse a Heisman campaign, talking only of focusing on team goals, which could wind up to be the smartest campaign ever to win the hearts of voters.  While the Louisville administrators may be disappointed in Teddy's lack of self promotion (he didn't have a twitter account until after this past season), the Cardinal faithful and college football fans everywhere should appreciate what they have in front of them.  It's rare that in today's culture of mega-stars, we and especially NFL teams find a player with so much talent that is so selfless.  Most importantly, make sure to watch out for number 5 coming this fall.  He just might be the next big thing.

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