The Louisville Cardinals are primed to make more than a run at the first-ever American Athletic Conference title in the program’s first and last season in the new league. Following a big-time upset of Florida in last year’s Sugar Bowl and boasting superstar quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, coach Charlie Strong’s team finds itself at No. 9 in the first edition of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
National championship aspirations surround Strong’s up-and-coming program. That is what makes the arrival of running back Michael Dyer so interesting. Dyer rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons at Auburn, but a series of legal snafus (he was never arrested for anything) forced his dismissal from the program. He tried to transfer to Arkansas State, but was dismissed and thus forced to sit out of the game for an entire year while attending Arkansas Baptist.
Dyer earned his Associate’s Degree and will be eligible to run for Louisville this year. He could provide the type of explosive rush game behind Bridgewater the team needs to make the leap and into the national elite.
Or he could implode and cause an embarrassment for all parties involved. No one knows for sure, but it seems neither the school nor Strong are taking any chances.
Interestingly, Strong was asked to talk about the core set of values he has been working to instill in his players. After all, teenagers from questionable backgrounds need real help off the field, and Strong has made a point of making that a huge part of what he does on campus.
Strong’s answer regarding core values, however, was not at all what one may have expected. Instead of providing a stock answer (something along the lines of “We’ve been working hard since Day 1 to instill our values” or “Our players have really bought into the system and our Core Values” for example) Strong was very cryptic.
We’ve always known that coaches deal with far, far more behind closed doors than those within the media could ever hope to know. That being said, an answer like this makes us wonder the true extent.
It also makes us wonder what “zero tolerance” in Dyer’s case will actually mean in 2013.