When you google the term “teammate”, you get a simple definition of “a fellow member of a team”. But the word can mean so much more than that. There are two different kinds of teammates we will talk about here. There are selfish ones that are all about themselves and their own stats and they have a massive ego. And then there are the good teammates. The ones that put the TEAM first. Winning is more important than their personal accolades. They sacrifice for the good of the team. These kinds of teammates are what championship teams are made of. The Louisville Cardinals have two perfect examples of the “good” teammates: Reggie Bonnafon and Kyle Bolin.
Both players were recruited to the University of Louisville to play Quarterback. Both have done that, and both have definitely had their moments where they helped the Cards win. Both have started 6 games each as QB over the last two seasons. At different times, both Bonnafon and Bolin have made fans say “He gives us the best chance to win.” Then again, they have both made fans say “No he is not the QB for Petrino’s system.” Not that fans are prisoners of the moment or anything…
You see, these two have a lot in common. Something else they have in common? You have never heard the fans say a bad thing about them as people or say that they seem like bad teammates and detriments to the team. You most certainly can not say that about them now.
Reggie Bonnafon did not start at QB at all after the Auburn game last season. Instead, he switched positions to help the team. He still took some snaps and made plays from the QB spot, but he was never the starter at QB. What did he do? He just went back to his high school days of playing wide receiver. He played some running back. Petrino found different ways to get the ball in his hands. He may not be the best option at QB, but he is too good of a football player to be watching from the sidelines. He proved that. And he did it without ever publicly complaining or thinking that he was too good to switch positions. He is a football player. And a really good one at that. He finished the season with 10 receptions for 105 yards and 45 rushes for 175 yards.
Kyle Bolin could be the starting QB for a lot of teams around the country. He most certainly could be a starter just about an hour down the road, in his own backyard. Bolin started 5 games last season for the Cards, including 4 of the last 5. Whether it was in those starts or when he came in as a backup, there were a lot of times where Bolin looked like “the guy”. Because of that, I have never been more confident in the depth at the QB spot for Louisville.
At media day on Saturday, Bolin told reporters that he would “rather be a help than be a cancer.” Whoa, talk about a deep quote that may go overlooked by some. Not by me. Bolin could have complained. He could have transferred out. He didn’t. He stayed here because he wanted to be a Louisville Cardinal. He wanted to finish what he started and not run away. He says he wasn’t raised like that.
So what does he do? He helps guys like Lamar Jackson and Jawon Pass if they have questions. Why? Because that is what will help the team. Bolin wants to be a football coach after his playing days. He is certainly playing for the right man if he wants to continue down that path.
Lamar Jackson, the talented wide receivers, and the defense will get most of the spotlight this season. But don’t forget about these two selfless individuals. They may be individuals, but they are more about the team than most would be. The University of Louisville and the fans are lucky to have these two. Enjoy them. They are team-first and not me-first. It’s a rare trait to have these days.