Louisville's loss to Central Florida last Friday ended the Cardinals' long-shot national title hopes and all but ended quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's Heisman hopes. But Bridgewater remains perhaps the nation's best at his position, and the coach who will try to stop him this Saturday knows that.
Louisville (6-1) plays at South Florida (2-4) in an AAC game, and Bulls coach Willie Taggart was appreciative of Bridgewater's skills earlier this week.
"He's the real deal," Taggart said during his weekly teleconference. "Teddy is a special kid. He reminds me a lot of the way Andrew Luck was as a college player. He's very smart. He runs the entire offense. He can get his guys in and out of good and bad plays. He throws the deep ball very well."
Taggart was a running back coach at Stanford for three seasons (2007-09) under Jim Harbaugh, and Luck's first two seasons on campus overlapped with Taggart's last two years at the school. Taggart left Stanford to become coach at Western Kentucky, and after spending three seasons rebuilding that program, he is in his first season trying to do the same at USF.
Interestingly, Taggart might have been coaching Bridgewater this fall. Bridgewater, a Miami native, originally committed to Miami but later changed his mind. He visited USF and was interested, but ultimately decided to sign with Louisville.
Bridgewater (6-foot-3, 196 pounds) is averaging 316.1 passing yards per game, with 20 TDs, two interceptions and a 72.0 completion percentage. He is third in the nation in TD passes and fourth in completion percentage among those who qualify. USF is 22nd nationally in pass defense, but the Bulls' secondary was torched by Miami's Stephen Morris in late September. Morris and backup Ryan Williams threw for 375 yards and three TDs in a 49-21 win.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.