Andrea Adelson and the rest of the ACC bloggers for ESPN.com have been counting down the best backups in the conference for the upcoming season. At #2, they highlighted Louisville running back Michael Dyer. Here is what they said about Dyer. I give you my thoughts afterwards…
Projected role in 2014: Backup to Dominique Brown. The Cardinals are deep at running back, with Brown, Dyer, Corvin Lamb and Brandon Radcliff returning — along with the addition of freshman L.J. Scott, who had an outstanding spring. Though coach Bobby Petrino has said he wants Brown to get 20-25 carries a game, the depth here will help the Cards. Especially since Petrino is known for getting multiple backs involved in the offense. In three previous head coaching stops, Petrino has had two backs with over 100 carries five times. During his first run at Louisville, Petrino had three backs with 75 or more carries three out of his four seasons. There is ample opportunity for the ball to go around, especially with the skill and versatility at the position.
Why he’ll make an impact: Dyer has the potential to be a star, based on his talent alone. As a freshman at Auburn, he set the school’s freshman rushing record with 1,093 yards and was selected Offensive MVP of the 2011 BCS National Championship after rushing for 143 yards in the win over Oregon. He followed that with another 1,000-yard season as a sophomore, but Dyer could not stay out of trouble off the field. He was suspended indefinitely for failed drug tests before the bowl game and decided to transfer. After stops at Arkansas State and Arkansas Baptist, he arrived at Louisville last season. But injuries slowed him down and he only played in eight games, rushing 44 times for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Dyer is now completely healthy, and the hope is that he can return to the dazzling form he displayed in the first two seasons of his career. He showed that potential in the spring game, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries playing for both the Red and White teams. If he does, the Louisville offense will be even more difficult to defend.
Now if you know me, or if you have been keeping up with CardinalSportsZone.com since last year, you know that Michael Dyer is not a backup to me. As I have said many times before, and sorry to those of you that have read it before, but I lived in Auburn from 2008-2012. I saw Michael Dyer play in person. He broke Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record. He was the MVP of the National Championship game. And Cam Newton played in that game! This guy has all the tools to succeed.
I have no problem saying that if Michael Dyer is 100% healthy, he is the best running back on Louisville’s roster and it isn’t really close. I know a lot of people will stay loyal to Dominique Brown and that is fine. I get that. Brown is very good. But if healthy, Dyer could be one of the best running backs in the country. He was injured for a lot of last season, and honestly, I didn’t care for the offensive gameplan that had one running back per series. I think Petrino will use multiple running backs in a series. Dyer runs a couple times, bring in Brown for a couple carries, then hit them with L.J. Scott, all in the same series. We didn’t do that last season and I never felt like the running backs could get into a rhythm.
But back to Dyer. He is wearing #5 this season. I tweeted last Monday that if you think he cares that Teddy wore that number, you don’t really know about Michael Dyer. To him, that is HIS (Dyer’s) number. Bobby Petrino actually said the same exact thing too. He is that confident in himself. He doesn’t care at all who wore it before. Again, people will probably be loyal to Teddy, and that’s fine. People will say that’s Teddy’s number only, and that Dyer didn’t deserve it. They haven’t really accepted Dyer into the UofL family yet because he didn’t do much last year.
Just wait. Dyer’s time is coming, and I feel very strongly about that. I have made bold predictions before, saying that certain guys will have breakout seasons and they don’t (I am counting on you again Matt Milton!), but I am very confident that Dyer will have a great season and that Bobby Petrino will get the most out of his talents.
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