LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville running back Michael Dyer is switching to Teddy Bridgewater’s old uniform number.
New coach Bobby Petrino joked Thursday that “he’s certainly not going to throw the ball in” the No. 5 jersey. Petrino said Dyer is changing from No. 26 because “it’s a number he likes” and he’s worn it before.
Bridgewater played in No. 5 the past three seasons and led Louisville to a 23-3 record and a pair of bowl wins in the last two. He was a first-round selection by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL draft in May.
Dyer rushed for over 2,000 yards in two seasons at Auburn and helped the Tigers win the BCS championship. He spent 2012 at Arkansas Baptist College without playing before transferring to Louisville last season and rushing for 223 yards and two touchdowns before being limited by a sports hernia.
Dyer came back to gain over 100 yards in the Cardinals’ spring game, a performance the coach said bolstered his case for wearing the number of his star former teammate.
“He came to me before spring ball and asked about changing the number,” Petrino said. “I said, ‘Mike, let’s do this: see how you do in spring ball, how hard you work, see how you play in the spring game. Then let’s talk about it after spring ball.'”
Petrino will begin a second stint as Louisville coach Aug. 5 looking to replace Bridgewater at quarterback and several defensive starters. The Cardinals are making the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Will Gardner is considered the favorite to replace Bridgewater and has a deep threat in senior DeVante Parker, who is on the watch list for several national awards.
Petrino was happy with the team’s offseason work but was most pleased to have experienced offensive linemen in Chris Acosta, Kelby Johnson, Ryan Mack and T.C. Klusman back at full strength.
The coach was also pleased with the improved conditioning of senior offensive tackle Jamon Brown, a starter over the past two seasons. He weighed in at 327 pounds a few days ago after being listed at 348 last year.
“We felt like if he played four quarters at the highest level to be able to win the game in the fourth quarter you need to get your weight down,” Petrino said. “That was a real commitment on his part. I think he’ll be a much better player.”
Defensively, senior end and sacks leader Lorenzo Mauldin, sophomore linebacker Keith Brown and redshirt freshman safety Terrance Ross return from injuries.
“It is nice to have the additions to all those guys that just watched and weren’t able to go in spring football,” Petrino said.
The Cardinals open Sept. 1 against Miami.
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