There’s no ‘can’t’ in Cantwell

By Darrell Laurant  |   Tuesday, September 19, 2006  |  Comments( 0 )

Louisville Cardinals
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The kid isn't from California, or Florida, or Texas, where most of the hotshot young quarterbacks earn their stripes. He's from Paducah, Ky.

But Hunter Cantwell is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, with a strong right arm. As a senior at Tilghman High School in Paducah, he threw for 2,270 yards and 29 touchdowns. The colleges, for whatever reason, were underwhelmed.

So Cantwell went to the University of Louisville as a walk-on, confident that he was cream destined to rise to the top. He was right -- and sooner than he thought.

Saturday, during a landmark 31-7 rout of Miami, starting Louisville QB Brian Brohm injured his right hand. In came Cantwell, and the Cardinals didn't miss a beat.

This was nothing new for the curly-haired sophomore. Brohm blew out his knee late last season, and Cantwell stepped in to lead his team to three victories and almost pull out a Gator Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. In the latter contest, he threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

Brohm remained on the shelf during spring practice, which was another break for Cantwell.

"He's a big, strong kid who can throw the football," said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. "And he was able to take all the reps with the first team in spring ball."

The Louisville quarterback coach is Jeff Brohm, Brian's brother and one of the youngest assistants in the nation. He advised Stefan LeFors, his brother, and now Cantwell.

"I don't expect a dropoff," said coach Ron Prince of Kansas State, which hosts Louisville on Saturday, "because of the season they have there. He (Cantwell) has a good supporting cast around him to help him make plays."

Earlier, Louisville lost RB Michael Bush for the year with a broken leg in the season opener. Now, Brohm is expected to be out four to six weeks. It looks as if the person in the Louisville sports information office responsible for cranking out Heisman hype on the Cardinals' two marquee players can give it a rest.

Meanwhile, Cantwell just keeps getting better. Most inexperienced quarterbacks come into a game and nibble -- a dumpoff to a back here, a short throw to the tight end there. Not Cantwell. He's averaging 16 yards a completion.

Meanwhile, Petrino and Jeff Brohm are already scrambling to get Bill Ashley and wide receiver Patrick Carey up to speed as Cantwell's backups. The way things are going for the Cardinals this season, you never know.

Oh, yes - Hunter Cantwell now has a scholarship.

Get more original Louisville Cardinals coverage at RealFootball365.com
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