Previous position breakdowns:
Today we continue our position breakdowns for the 2013 football season and focus on the Running Backs. Of course the big news recently was the addition of Michael Dyer to the team. Adding Dyer to an already solid group is big. Let’s take a look at who the Cards have at running back for this season.
6’2 216 lbs
If you remember, Dominique Brown actually came to UofL as a quarterback. As a freshman in 2010, he was mainly just used as our “Wildcard” quarterback. So basically he would get the snap and run. He did throw 1 pass, and that was an interception. He had 20 rushes for 59 yards that season.
It wasn’t until his sophomore year that Brown emerged as a true running back. When the Cards played Kentucky in Lexington, Brown lined up as a running back, not just the “Wildcard” quarterback. He responded with 14 carries for 91 yards. He finished the season 2nd on the team in rushing with 533 yards. He rushed for 4 touchdowns, which was tied for the team lead.
Brown sat out all of last season with a knee injury. He probably could have played later in the year, but at that point, it was not worth using an entire season of eligibility for just a few games because the other running backs were carrying the load just fine. That obviously paid off with the Cards still making it to and winning the Sugar Bowl.
This season should be a great one for Brown, as he is healthy and in great shape. He has now had plenty of time to practice as a full-time running back, which will make a big difference. In his sophomore year, which was a pleasant surprise, he got a lot of those yards simply because he has great size. Now he will have a grasp of reading defenses and look like a real running back out there. He is definitely due for a career best season.
6’0 187 lbs
One of the biggest breakout players from last year was easily Senorise Perry. As a freshman, he played in 10 games, only on special teams. As a sophomore, he had 27 yards on 12 rushes for the season. Then last season he made a huge impact with 705 rushing yards (2nd on the team) and 11 touchdowns (team leader) in only 10 games. He rushed for 4 touchdowns against Pittsburgh, becoming the first Card to rush for 4 touchdowns since Michael Bush against West Virginia in 2005.
His season was ended when he tore his ACL against Syracuse. He has rehabbed quite well and it sounds like he may be ready to play this season.
5’9 215 lbs
The biggest news this off-season has been the addition of Michael Dyer. As a freshman at Auburn, Dyer was the 2011 BCS Championship Game MVP. In that game, he had 143 yards on 22 carries. He rushed for 1,093 yards, breaking Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record at Auburn, which was 829 yards. His sophomore year was more of the same with 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Dyer rushed for over 100 yards 9 times while at Auburn. Off the field issues led to him leaving there and going to Arkansas State. More issues got him dismissed there and he went to Arkansas Baptist for a year to try and get his life back together. He chose the Cards in large part because his mentor is friends with Charlie Strong and knows that he is the man that can help Dyer become a better person. The group of running backs that the Cards had before were good. With the addition of Dyer, that group can be great.
If you missed our previous post about Michael Dyer with opinions from Auburn fans, you can read that here.
5’9 212 lbs
Lamb showed flashes of his big-play potential last season as a red-shirt freshman. He played in 11 games, rushing for 50 yards on 13 carries. His biggest play of the season was taking a screen pass and going 53 yards for the touchdown against Syracuse. He was also big in the regular season finale against Rutgers. With Senorise Perry out, Lamb had to step up and help Jeremy Wright, and he did with 37 yards on 6 carries.
With his size, you would not expect him to be as flashy and quick as he is. He has the potential to score every time he touches the ball. If he can stay healthy, he will find his way onto the field this season, regardless of who else the Cards have at running back.
5’9 216 lbs
Radcliff red shirted last season, but he had a solid spring for the Cards. With the addition of Michael Dyer, Radcliff could be another year away from making a big impact in the backfield. But you could still see him making plays on special teams. If his time does not come this year, it will soon enough, that’s for sure.
Other running backs with little or no info in their bio…
Jarel McGriff-Culver RS Junior 5’11 204 lbs
DeAngelo Thomas RS Junior 5’9 201 lbs
Thaddeus Franklin RS Junior 5’10 203 lbs
Another group that you just look at and think “Wow!” This could be the best stable of running backs we have seen at Louisville. I was excited for the guys we had coming back, but the addition of Michael Dyer just takes this group and the team to another level. When it was being talked about that he may come to Louisville, some people were hesitant about it and started to make it out to be “Dyer vs our current guys.” And it does not have to be like that at all. He can push this team to the next level, he is that good.
Now some people talk about how he hasn’t played in a year. I am very excited for Dominique Brown and all, and for good reason, but he did not play last year, and he has not been a running back his whole life. Now in saying that, I firmly believe Brown could rush for 1,000 yards this season, so I am not saying he is not worthy of the excitement. I am just saying that Dyer did not just forget how to be a running back. He knows how to play, it’s just a matter of grasping the playbook and getting comfortable. My prediction is that we see him a little bit in the first 2 games, but then he breaks out against Kentucky in Lexington. I mean, why not? That is where Dominique Brown became a running back. That is where Teddy Bridgewater had his breakout game and became our starter. Maybe this time it will be Dyer that has a huge game in Lexington.
I have been saying for months that I would be surprised if Senorise Perry plays this season. I am not saying he can’t. It was encouraging to see him at practice making cuts on that right knee. I just see that as a situation like we had with Dominique Brown last year. If the other running backs can do the job, and I fully expect that they can, then there won’t be a reason to bring Perry back if he is not ready. If he is 100% then go for it. But if not? Maybe we save him for a year and bring him back for the ACC. We will see how that pans out. He may play in game 1 and make all of this irrelevant.
I am excited about Lamb and Radcliff. Hopefully they can find their way onto the field and get some carries with a potentially crowded backfield. Both have the capability to be huge contributors for this team. Lamb is always impressive in practice and has shown in games that the big-play could happen at any time. Radcliff had a great spring game and when his time comes, it will be well worth it.
Overall, I think we are just fine at running back. Brown and Dyer could be the best 1-2 punch in the country when it’s all said and done. We certainly have the depth at this position, and the past has shown that you need depth at running back. I can’t wait to see how these guys do this year!
Tomorrow I will bring you the breakdown of the Tight Ends!
*Some info came from GoCards.com