This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
The San Antonio Spurs suffered an absolutely devastating loss in the 2013 NBA Finals. After taking a 3-2 series lead, the Spurs were up five points and were just 28 seconds away from winning it all in Game 6. Improbably, the Heat came back to win in overtime, forcing Game 7. The Spurs struggled to rebound from the crushing Game 6 defeat, and the Heat prevailed in Game 7 behind 37 points from LeBron James.
It was a different story this year.
In a Final rematch, it took just five games for the Spurs to dominate the Heat and win the franchise’s fifth title in 15 years on Sunday night.
The Spurs’ impressive rebound got us thinking for this week’s Doc Five. What players who suffered considerable setbacks in 2013 could be prime candidates to come back strong in 2014?
We'll start with the offensive side of the ball.
TOP FIVE PLAYERS POISED FOR A COMEBACK IN 2014
No. 1: Michael Dyer, RB, Louisville
Have you forgetten about Michael Dyer?
It has been a bumpy road in the three and a half years since Dyer, then a true freshman at Auburn, ran wild on the Oregon Ducks for 143 yards on 22 carries to lead the Tigers to a national title in the 2011 BCS title game. He ran for 1,093 yards and five touchdowns that year, and followed it up with 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Tigers as a sophomore to earn first team All-SEC honors.
Before Auburn’s appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl that season, Dyer was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules after a gun he owned was used in an armed robbery by two Auburn teammates. Dyer was not involved in the incident and was never charged with a crime, and soon after followed his offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to Arkansas State.
The troubles didn’t end there for Dyer. Dyer was dismissed from Arkansas State a few months after his transfer in another off-the-field incident. Dyer was pulled over for speeding and reportedly was carrying a firearm and had marijuana in his possession.
Later that year, Dyer transferred to Arkansas Baptist College – a school without a football team -- to get his academic situation in order. Finally, after earning an associate’s degree from Arkansas Baptist, Dyer again transferred, this time to Louisville.
In his first season with the Cardinals, Dyer showed glimpses of his old self, but was hampered by injuries for much of the season. He carried the ball just 44 times, gaining 223 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
After all of that, Dyer is back for his final season of eligibility and he’s out to make his senior season his best season. Those nagging injuries kept Dyer out for part of Louisville’s spring practices, but he exploded for 150 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries in the Cardinals’ spring game.
“He looked really quick,” said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. “He was seeing things, making good cuts. It was the first time that we’ve really seen him this spring at 100 percent.”
Fellow senior Dominique Brown (825 yards, eight touchdowns) also returns for the Cardinals. At 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, Brown figures to be the primary back when the season begins, but the 5-foot-9, 215-pound Dyer can be a great complement to Brown and a home run threat in the Louisville backfield and could even surpass Brown on the depth chart sooner than later.
As Louisville transitions to the ACC, Dyer has the chance to prove that he is still the running back who gained 2,335 yards in two seasons at Auburn, making him the top choice on our list of offensive players poised for a comeback in 2014.
For more Louisville news, visit CardinalSports.com.
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