Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. The veteran head coach has coached some pretty good ones in his career as a coach in the NFL and in the college ranks, including former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
So, when Petrino sees Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence throwing the ball, he knows what he is seeing in the freshman.
“He can really spin the ball,” Petrino said during Wednesday’s ACC Coaches teleconference. “He’s got a quick release and can really snap his wrist.”
Besides Jackson, Petrino has coached some good quarterbacks in his time – Ryan Mallett, Brian Brohm, Stefan LeFors and even All-Pro quarterback Mark Brunell when he was the offensive coordinator at Jacksonville in late 1990s.
Lawrence comes into Saturday’s noon kick with the Cardinals leading the ACC in passer rating, yards per attempt and touchdown passes. He is also second in completion percentage at 65.3 percent.
“He’s young, and I guess that’s the one thing that you try to do is give him different looks and give him different types of pressures. It’s a lot of newness in the game of football,” Petrino said.
But as Petrino has surely seen on tape, those things have not worked too well against Lawrence, who is playing a little ahead of his age so far. NC State tried to confuse him and bring pressure, but he completed 26-of-39 passes for 308 yards and one touchdown.
This past week against Florida State, he hung in the pocket and threw for 314 yards, including touchdown passes of 58 and 68 yards to Amari Rodgers. He also threw two more touchdowns to Tee Higgins in the Tigers’ 49-point win.
Lawrence also burned Georgia Tech and Wake Forest with long touchdown passes to Higgins and Justyn Ross.
“When he can set his feet and knows what’s going on out there and snap his wrist, he can throw it as well as anybody,” Petrino said.