Louisville will go with true freshman Reggie Bonnafon as its starting quarterback when it plays host to Wake Forest on Saturday.
Regular starter Will Gardner (6-foot-5, 226 pounds), a sophomore, suffered a knee injury in last week's win over Florida International, leaving that game in the third quarter. Head coach Bobby Petrino said Thursday that Gardner was not cleared to play by team doctors. With Gardner sidelined during practice this week, Bonnafon (6-3, 206) took the reps with the first-team offense.
Bonnafon missed practice last week, as well as the game against FIU, because of his father's death. He has played twice this season: He saw mop-up duty in a rout of FCS opponent Murray State, then came on when Gardner was benched in a loss to Virginia. Gardner re-entered that game late and almost rallied Louisville to a win.
Gardner strictly is a dropback passer, while Bonnafon was the consensus No. 10 dual-threat quarterback nationally in the 2014 recruiting class. Bonnafon, a Louisville native, committed to the Cardinals when Charlie Strong was coach. He stuck with his commitment even after Petrino replaced Strong.
While Petrino's play-calling will change a bit with Bonnafon at the controls, it frankly shouldn't matter who starts at quarterback because Wake Forest is the worst team in the ACC. The strong-armed Gardner has struggled with his accuracy thus far, and he definitely has missed star wide receiver Devante Parker, who is injured and won't return until next month.
Saturday's game could mean more action for Louisville senior tailback Michael Dyer, who made his season debut last week against FIU but managed just 16 yards on eight carries. Dyer (5-9, 212) missed the first three games with a thigh bruise.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.