Sophomore quarterback Will Gardner, who missed 2+ games because of a knee injury he suffered in late September, is officially back in the starting role for Louisville. While Gardner was recuperating, Louisville started freshman Reggie Bonnafon, who did not exactly set the world on fire but nonetheless proved capable enough to guide the team to wins over Wake Forest and Syracuse.
Bonnafon struggled in the first half against Clemson last weekend, leading the Cards to get Gardner into the contest for the final two quarters, and he proved much more effective. So it's not too surprising that Bobby Petrino is going back to him for the NC State game. Bonnafon may see a series or two but probably won't play much.
Bonnafon is the more mobile of the two, but Gardner gives the Cardinals a more reliable passer. Neither player has posted eye-grabbing numbers this season, though both have done a great job of avoiding mistakes. The two have combined for three interceptions on the season, averaging one for every 70 pass attempts or so.
Louisville's passing offense has not been particularly explosive, as the Cards are averaging about 230 passing yards per game and seven yards per pass attempt. But they've also been without injured star receiver DeVante Parker for the entire season; Parker sounds like he's day-to-day at this point and could play against the Wolfpack. If he does, UL has a key piece for opening up the field, and going with Gardner over Bonnafon is probably the best way to leverage Parker's return.
With the QB issue settled, I turned once more to anagrams in an effort to understand what may lie ahead. As you well know, when used properly, anagrams can possess tremendous predictive value.
Benign Oaf Goner
A Neon Frog Binge
Fan Reneging Boo
This particular assortment suggests that Bonnafon would end up playing like an uncoordinated and inaccurate clod riding a high from his various pre-game frog-lickings, were he granted the start. There is a considerable likelihood of negative hallucinatory effects; for example, he may think he sees an NC State defender in the backfield one time.
Judging by the fourth anagram, there is a non-zero chance that the aforementioned frog habit in fact unlocks a transcendent level of play for Bonnafon, and in such a case he likely would start slowly but grow increasingly capable and efficient as the game progressed.
This is a difficult reading, to be sure. Any time we find an alias in the results, we have a potential x-factor to consider. The alias "Will Dangerr" sounds like some off-brand superhero name, but the thing with off-brand superheroes is that they are still superheroes who can do super things. Dangerr profiles as a man whose willingness to attack his opponent, risks be damned, rewards far more often than it punishes. It helps that he has the arm strength to make a mockery of a football field's dimensions.
Yet with the other two anagrams we are given precisely the opposite message. It seems also that Gardner might be insufferably dull, content to lead a life full of various mundane yet necessary bits of housekeeping. This unimaginative disposition of his naturally would flow onto the football field, resulting in boring checkdown after boring checkdown. The Cardinals' offense would be doomed, but safe.
Undoubtedly Petrino has been made aware by the team anagramist of Gardner's alias trump card, which if I am being honest is probably going to overcome the negative risk factors that are equally as evident but considerably less influential on future performance. Bonnafon, meanwhile, is at least 87.4% likely to implode spectacularly if forced to handle the weight of an entire game.