Dyer's Road To Redemption Runs Through Louisville
By Matt LaPan
It is time. No more rumors, no more "sightings" and no more specualtion. Michael Dyer is officially a scholarship football player again, his return to FBS football will be with the Louisville Cardinals.
With that being said, it is time to leave the troubles in the past and look forward to Dyer's future both at Lousiville and as an NFL draft prospect. Let this article serve as the first look at the new Michael Dyer and how he can thrive under Charlie Strong and Shawn Watson as his road to redemption begins on the gridiron of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
First, Watson, Louisville's offensive coordinator, has shown throughout his career that he likes to develop offenses that show good balance between the run and pass. Although the Cardinals did not have a 1,000-yard rusher last season, Dyer is a far better back than both Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry. Dyer brings the combined skills of Wright and Perry in that he has the ability to make plays both between the tackles and on outside runs. Dyer has an explosive burst that allows him to make it to the hole, and once he gets there he is extremely hard to take down. This combination of elite skills will translate very well to Lousiville's offense, which boasts three returning starters along the offensive line.
While it will take time for Dyer to gel with the new offensive line, he will benefit by running behind that experienced line. One trait that Dyer has shown he is truly elite at -- one which many college backs are not -- is his patience in following blocks. Of all the running backs on Football.com's 2014 Draft positional rankings, Dyer could have the best vision of them all. He not only knows when to hit the hole or when to cut back, but Dyer also shows that he can slow down in the backfield and allow his blockers to set up the play in front of him before he ramps up his speed.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, Dyer will be playing in the same backfield as Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater. This allows Dyer to once again play alongside a quarterback who could be the top overall selection in the NFL Draft. Playing with such quarterbacks as Cam Newton and Bridgewater increases the size of the playbook on the teams that they play on, which in turn makes a running back with elite football knowledge a must. On his tape from Auburn, Dyer showed that he can handle multiple checks at the line of scrimage, which Bridgewater is very adept at doing.
Plus, playing with Bridgewater will also help Dyer develop as a receiver out of the backfield. In his career at Auburn, Dyer pulled in only three passes, totaling just 16 career yards. Bridgewater, however, completed passes to all of his top-three rushing threats in 2012, including 41 passes to Wright. Many of these short passes came on check downs, which will likely go to Dyer when he takes the field. With this potential dimension, Dyer would have more opportunities to show his elite open-field speed.
As the redemption tour begins for Michael Dyer, it will be paramount to check his progress throughout the season. If Dyer has a good season, he could make the leap to the NFL Draft.