Dolphins ecstatic DeVante Parker was still available

The Miami Dolphins had DeVante Parker at the top of their draft list all along, worried that he would be off the board when they made their pick at the No. 14 spot. They badly wanted DeVante Parker.

Photo by Menefee Seay
DeVante Parker

They had good reason to be concerned with all the chatter about Parker possibly rejoining his former teammate, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, at Minnesota. But the Vikings disappointed University of Louisville fans, going instead for cornerback Trae Waynes of Michigan State with their No. 11 pick.

Next up were the Cleveland Browns, a team that needs a lot of everything, from the bottom of the roster to the corner office.

“We thought they might take [Parker],” Dolphins owner Steve Ross told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.

UofL fans holding their breath, too, fearful for Parker. Letting go a sigh of relief when the Browns draft Danny Shelton, a tackle from Washington.

“I was thrilled,” said Ross. “He was the guy all along I thought would be at the top of our board. To get one of the big three receivers, a step above the rest, it’s great.”

Parker, who finished his collegiate career with 33 touchdowns, was clearly among the best to ever play receiver at UofL.  Had he not been injured the first seven games last season with a foot injury, he was on track to resetting all Louisville receiving records.

Often NFL owners and scouts, in an effort to shortcut the development process, outsmart themselves and dig the hole deeper, extending the process. They send scouts  to football games every week, but overlook the obvious in the frenzy and one-upmanship leading up to the draft. How else to explain Bridgewater being the last pick in the 2015 draft?

The Miami Dolphins were focused on DeVante Parker, and they will start reaping the benefits right away.

Kyle Bolin no longer a mystery, leads Louisville past Kentucky

Governor's Cup
Kentucky apparently spent every waking minute the past two weeks studying the tendencies of University of Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, knowing what he was going to do before he did. The UofL freshman was out of sorts, running for his life on every possession.

Bonnafon still holding the ball too long, getting sacked twice for losses of eight and nine yards. Completng only one pass out of five attempts, delivering an interception leading to UK’s first field goal. The situation was dire when he was injured on the second play of the second quarter, UofL trailing 13-0 at the time. Or maybe not.

Kyle Bolin knows where to find DeVante Parker.
Kyle Bolin knows to find DeVante Parker.

Fortunately, the UK coaching staff repeated the mistake of the previous staff of overlooking Kyle Bolin, a redshirt freshman from Lexington Catholic who was never offered a scholarship. Third-string quarterback at UofL, little experience, injury plagued, why bother. Not too surprising since he was largely an unknown quantity to his own coaches.

Everybody knows who Bolin is now after leading Louisville to a 44-40 win over UK before a crowd of 55,118 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Bolin wasn’t having any part of a blowout, immediately completing a 10-yard pass to Eli Rogers for a first down. On the next play, he would hook up with DeVante Parker on a 45-yard touchdown.

A little rusty at times, Bolin had come to play, completing 21 of 31 passes for 381 yards, including three touchdown passes. But he would also give Kentucky hope for ending a three-game losing streak in the series, personally giving Kentucky two touchdowns on a fumble and an interception.  He would set up the winning touchdown on a 26-yard pass play to Parker, with Brandon Radcliff scoring the next play on a four-yard run.

The Wildcat coaches also had UofL’s running game figured out. Michael Dyer would be limited to 15 yards and he would cough up the ball on his last possession in the game. Radcliff scored two touchdowns, but he would be held to 67 yards on 21 carries.

How appropriate was it that Gerod Holliman would intercept Patrick Towles’ final pass, assuring UofL of the win over its bitter rival and tying the NCAA record 14 interceptions for a season. A touchdown after that 65-yard return would have been even nicer.

Parker would be voted the Howard Schnellenberger Player of the Game with his three touchdown receptions. For the game, he would be credited with six receptions for 180 yards. One has to wonder what the season could have been had he not missed the first six games, such an exceptional receiver, always wanting more yards after the catch.

But to take advantage of Parker’s abilities, UofL needs a quarterback who can find him. Kyle Bolin had no problem getting the ball to the man who can make things happen. UK had no answer for him.

Louisville’s DeVante Parker will go against N.C. State

An optimistic Bobby Petrino had some good news following the University of Louisville football team’s Thursday practice. DeVante Parker will be available to play against North Carolina State on Saturday.

Photo by Menefee Seay

“I’m knocking on wood here, but he looks like he might be available to go,” he said. “He practiced all three days and he looked good out there tonight, so I’m excited about it. I’ll list him as questionable, but I think he’s ready to go.”

Petrino was also upbeat on improved protection for the signal callers, indicating that the receivers and quarterbacks are getting the timing down. “We’re working hard on the protection part of it. We’re continually working to get better at it. I guess we’ll find out here on Saturday,” he said.

Parker’s status for Clemson game guarded

“When he’s healthy … If he’s healthy … Gotta see how he plays in practice … If he’s ready to go …”

Garrick McGee, Louisville’s offensive coordinator, was being non-commital after Wednesday’s practice about whether wide receiver DeVante Parker will be available in time for the Clemson game Saturday.

Two hard practices already this week, the coaches watching every step.

One suspects/hopes the coach is being careful, keeping Clemson guessing, as well he should. If Parker has any say on this issue, he will play. He has had this game circled on the calendar for about nine weeks.

Petrino updates Parker status

Screenshot 2014-08-25 13.44.21If there was any good news about DeVante Parker during Monday’s press conference, it may have been that he fractured the smallest toe on his left foot instead of the big toe. He was scheduled to undergo surgery in Charlotte later in the day, with an expected recovery period of six to eight weeks.

Parker’s projected return is possibly and understandably on the conservative side. One could conclude that there’s less stress on smaller toes than the big one, and Parker could conceivably return sooner rather than later.

“His loss restricts you a little bit,” said University of Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino. “He’s a very, very talented guy. We’ll certainly miss a guy like him. We’re going to be a little bit different.

“We’re not going to be have to have one guy step in and tell him, ‘Now, you’re DeVante.’ We’ve got to be to utilize the weapons we have, the things they do well, mix the ball around and put guys in a position where they can excel.”

The status of running back Michael Dyer remains day to day. “It remains to be seen whether he will be able to play,” said the coach.