BOZICH | Monday Rewind -- Bridgewater's Toughest Critic? Teddy Bridgewater
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Teddy Bridgewater led the nation last season in completion percentage.
Better than Johnny Manziel. Better than Blake Bortles. Better than A.J. McCarron. Better than any other quarterback eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bridgewater completed 71 percent of his passes for the University of Louisville.
Not good enough.
Not good enough?
Who says that?
Teddy Bridgewater said that. I visited Bridgewater last week at the IMG Academy complex in Bradenton, Fla., where he is training for the 2014 NFL Draft. The TV story will air Tuesday during the WDRB News at 4 and 10 – and the Internet story will post Tuesday afternoon.
But it's difficult to squeeze five hours of Bridgewater into a pair of stories. So that makes him a perfect candidate to start the Monday Rewind. As well as Bridgewater played last season, he believes he could have played better.
"I'm never satisfied," Bridgewater said. "(With) 71 percent, but, hey, it probably should have been 80 or 85 …
"Being my toughest critic, it's also a good thing because when I'm tough on myself, I'm never satisfied. I'm eager to just get better each and every day.
"Sometimes you do get too tough on yourself and you do think the impossible, but that's just the way I want to be. I want to think that I can do the impossible. I'm just going to continue to think that way. I'm just going to continue to think that way and motivate myself."
Visit WDRB.com Tuesday – and watch for the Bridgewater story on WDRB TV. Bridgewater and his coach, former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, provide an inside look at how Bridgewater is preparing for the NFL Draft. We visited Bridgewater on the field and in the weight room.
VOTERS RESPECT THE AAC
There were a string of reasons why Bridgewater never became a strong candidate for the Heisman Trophy last fall. First, he didn't want U of L to push his candidacy. After the Cards lost to Central Florida in October, Bridgewater disappeared from the national radar.
Don't overlook this factor: Skeptics questioned the quality of play in the American Athletic Conference. In college football, if it doesn't happen in the SEC, the ACC, the Pac-12, the Big Ten or the Big 12 it doesn't happen. The Cards' didn't have a signature moment until they beat Miami in their bowl game.
AAC basketball is stirring considerably more love – and respect. Check the latest Associated Press Top 25. Only two leagues have five ranked teams.
One is the Big Ten, the league many consider the best in the nation. The other is the AAC – with Cincinnati (10), Louisville (13), Memphis (20), SMU (23) and UConn (24).
That's correct. The AAC has more ranked teams than Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina and the rest of the glamorous ACC.
For the record, Louisville has a game remaining with all four of the other ranked AAC teams – and only the UConn game will be played at the KFC Yum! Center.
CHARLIE STRONG – TRASH TALKER?
Charlie Strong worked four solid seasons as the football coach at the University of Louisville, and I don't remember Strong doing much to provoke opposing fan bases. His favorite press conference strategy was bland. The most inflammatory thing Strong said most weeks was the Cardinals needed to pack their defense and pack their special teams if they expected to win on the road.
Different venue, different strategy for Strong?
It certainly seems that way. Last week, during a press conference when Strong announced his first recruiting class, Strong took a shot at the Longhorns' in-state rival program at Texas A&M. He was asked about the Aggies' top five recruiting class, one that coach Kevin Sumlin signed because of his opportunity to navigate the state while traveling on a helicopter that was called, "the Swagcopter."
"This university speaks for itself," Strong said. "We don't need gadgets. We're not going to be a gadget program … We're the University of Texas and this is the state of Texas. When we walk in, the door will be open for us."
Charlie said that?
Anybody who wondered if Strong was going to be able to handle the publicity demands of being the Texas head coach can now move to the next topic. Strong is no dummy. He knows that a comment like that one will resonate on the Internet for months.
According to the ESPN rankings, the Aggies' class was ranked fourth nationally, while the Texas class was No. 16.
Strong also knows his words will also intensify the call for Texas and A&M to resume the rivalry that ended when the Aggies moved into the Southeastern Conference for the 2012 season.
Of course, not everybody was laughing with Strong. ESPN analyst Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Houston. Ware believes the Aggies deserve more respect.
"I don't think it was gadgets that did it for Texas A&M," Ware said. "True or not, I think they are ahead of Texas on the recruiting trail. The numbers speak for themselves."
"I guess based on today we better get some more gadgets at our place then," Sumlin said. "I'm not going to get caught up in that."
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