Mike Dyer: Is He Ready to Emerge from the Shadow of Cam Newton?
For real? I know big Cam has the attention of the nation right now, but how can you not notice this kid? He had a stellar game this past weekend against Ole Miss, rushing 21 times for 180 yards, including a 30-yard run for a TD!
Dyer hasn't gotten the attention he deserves this year, but if it wasn't for a certain Heisman candidate sharing the field with him, I think Dyer would be the star of this Auburn offense. If Newton decides to go to the draft this year, I expect Dyer to be the new head honcho around Tiger Town.
Let's face it, Dyer could very well be the best running back in the SEC. His stats certainly make it seem that way. Right now, Cam Newton is the SEC's leading rusher, no surprise there.
However, if you look just a little lower on that list you'll see none other than Mike Dyer sitting at the No. 2 spot. Well, not exactly. Dyer is currently tied for second-most rushing yards in the SEC with Stevan Ridley of LSU. Another big-name freshman in the SEC is right behind Dyer and Ridley, Marcus Lattimore of the USC Gamecocks has only one less yard than the two backs ahead of him.
With their stats so close, what makes Auburn's Mike Dyer better than Lattimore and Ridley?
Oh yeah, both Lattimore and Ridley have about 30 more carries on the season than little Mike. Dyer is averaging six yards a carry on the season. Just imagine where Dyer would be at this point in the season had he not been sharing the ball with Cam Newton, Mario Fannin and Ontario McCalebb (all of whom are averaging around six yards per carry or more).
Dyer was big news before Cam was recruited. Even so, I remember hearing fans of the Tide saying how he doesn't match-up with running backs from previous recruiting classes (namely, one Trent Richardson). Well, looking at AU and UA's three common opponents, Richardson only fared better than Dyer against Arkansas (a game where Dyer was limited to very few carries so he could rest for LSU).
Richardson had very poor showings at South Carolina and Ole Miss, which were two of Dyer's best games. Dyer did better in every statistical category against those opponents including yards per carry and total yards. It will be interesting to see how well Richardson runs on LSU this weekend. Dyer had a great showing at LSU, rushing for 100 yards and 6.7 YPC.
For those of you out there still thinking Auburn is just the Cam Newton show, I encourage you to watch Mike Dyer the rest of this year. I won't even start on Ontario McCalebb, Darvin Adams or Nick Fairley.
Mr. Dyer, I'm looking forward to watching you play for another two or three years. I think AU fans will be chanting, "It's great to be an Auburn Tiger," for a long time!
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