Reports surfaced Monday that former Auburn running back Michael Dyer was close to enrolling at Louisville for the 2013 season. The Offensive Player of the Game in the 2010 BCS Championship and two-time 1,000-yard rusher in the SEC was, according to The Courier-Journal, added to the University's registrar system last Thursday.
And should Dyer make good on what seems to be in motion, the biggest winner here will be him, not Louisville.
On the football side of things, people are excited. The former high school All-American who broke Bo Jackson's freshman rushing record at Auburn, made one of the most spectacular plays in football history and has rushed for over 2,000 career yards appears to be headed to the U of L. That would give the Cardinals another weapon to go with standout quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide receiver DeVante Parker.
Even with a backfield full of backs that Charlie Strong believes in, getting Dyer would be good for the Cardinals.
However, the big winner here, should he officially enroll and be a part of the team, will be Michael Dyer. The wayward talent who has not seen the football field since 2011 has been looking for a home, and he might have found one. And a good one at that.
Walking into Louisville, Dyer would enter a situation that is most certainly unique, given his past experiences. Unlike at Auburn, he would not face a coaching staff in flux that featured a head coach who appeared to be in over his head. He would not be at Arkansas State with a first-year head coach who brought Dyer with him following their time at Auburn. Dyer is not coming in as a guy expected to be the focal point of the team or the biggest name on the roster.
No, he would walk into a place where the script has already been written. Where everyone knows the score. Where there is no doubt about expectations.
This is Charlie Strong's program. This is Teddy Bridgewater's team.
Everyone on that roster is going to work hard. Everyone on that roster is going to earn their keep. Everyone on that roster is going to do his job. Everyone on that roster is going to fight for the man next to him.
It sounds simple. The ideal of a team. The concept that every team is built upon. But it isn't. Every team has its own dynamics. Some are powered by the stars, who drag everyone with them. Others are buoyed by the coach, executing his goals.
Louisville's a team where, if you don't grind, you don't shine.
As current running back Dominique Brown tweeted upon the Dyer news leaking out:
That's not a potential chemistry issue, as some viewed it. No, that's a statement about trusting the men who work with you. Trusting your brothers who you have bled, sweat and cried with through winter conditioning, spring ball and summer runs.
And more importantly, trusting your coach.
So, while Teddy Bridgewater, through ESPN's Joe Schad, let folks know that Dyer would be welcomed, it must be noted: Welcoming does not mean ceding. Should he enroll, Brown and fellow running backs Senorise Perry, Brandon Radcliff and Corvin Lamb will not be giving Dyer their spots.
Should he enroll, Louisville's offense will not be awarding Dyer with a starting job. Should he enroll, Louisville's coaching staff will not be anointing Dyer the savior. Should he enroll, Louisville's team will not be compromising its grind to shine mentality.
Which is exactly what Michael Dyer needs.
The Cardinals are a team that truly believes they don't need Michael Dyer. They beat Florida like a drum without him a season ago and have planned all year to make their big run without his services. They can take the talented running back, or they can leave him; all of that will be up to Dyer.
As the wait for official Dyer news continues (ESPN's Schad expects Wednesday could be the date), Dyer stands to gain more from Louisville than the Cards could ever gain from him. He will get that structure, a built-in accountability system where teammates expect him to fit their mold. Work is expected. Grinding in film and on the practice field is expected.
Buying into the mission is expected.
To get time on the field, you have to be a part of the team. To be a part of the team, you have to buy into the mission. Buying into the mission means working hard and showing up for your teammates. You do those things, and you will become a part of what Louisville has been building since Strong started back in 2010.
Dyer has shown some responsibility in getting himself eligible to play by earning his associates degree from Arkansas Baptist. That same maturity he showed in giving himself an FBS opportunity must carry over to his next stop. If that stop is Louisville, he'll be in the capable of hands of Charlie Strong.
After a very tumultuous start to his career, getting to a place that is the picture of stability would be a big plus for Michael Dyer. He will be able to help Louisville, but more importantly, he'll be able to help himself.
For the young man, for his future, that's a major plus.
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