Louisville’s DeVante Parker missed the Cards’ 1st six games of 2014. The Cards are 5-1 and are averaging 388.3 yards per game and 33.3 points per game. UofL’s offense is about to change.
Some folks have guessed that Parker will be a decoy versus Clemson……..that will not be the case. DeVante Parker is a 1st Round NFL talent and brings his 113 catches, 1920 yards, and 28 Touchdowns to the field for the 1st time in 2014 for one reason: To Be a Weapon.
Prior to Parker breaking his fifth metatarsal in August, Louisville defenders considered making #9 make a difficult play to be a good play. That defense by the way has been the #1 defense for 2 consecutive seasons.
Only two players challenged Parker for regular reps in the practices I attended, Charles Gaines & Georgia transfer Shaq Wiggins. Neither won often and Charles Gaines has been rarely tested during 2014.
NFL.com named DeVante Parker the #1 Freakish Athlete in College Football prior to 2014 due to his 4.39 40-yard dash, 36.5 vertical, 17 reps at 225, broad jump of 10′ 10″, 455 max squat and 335 max bench. Not to mention an 80″ wingspan and a natural ability to catch the football. DeVante Parker is built to make big plays.
For Louisville having Parker back on the field will open things for everyone else. Teams can not afford to put anyone other than the #1 Cornerback on each team to cover Parker……and they can’t afford to single cover him either.
What that does is open up the middle more for the slot and tight end. It opens up more running lanes for running backs in the running game and also creates more space to the backs in the passing game as well……..and instead of James Quick seeing the #1 Corner on the opposing team….now he’ll be lining up against the 2nd corner rather than the 1st and without the help of a safety.
This is huge, but the real question now with a healthy Parker is who do you trust to throw him the football? Will Gardner is coming off an injury but has worked with DeVante Parker EXTENSIVELY through the Spring and Fall Camps before DeVante’s injury. Bonnafon on the other hand missed the Spring (still in High School) but is healthy with 2 consecutive wins.
Parker has the ability to be the “X-Factor” for the Louisville Offense. The respect and attention defenses must pay him will open up the field for better opportunities…..and DeVante will certainly make more than enough plays of his own. Getting DeVante back is a BIG deal for the 2nd half of the season. We’ll see if it is enough this week vs. Clemson.