Bobby Petrino is getting set to make his return to the Louisville Cardinals this fall and figures to bring his brand of high-powered offense to the Cardinals’ transition to the ACC. The team figured to have one of the more talented teams in their new conference headlined by elite receiver DeVante Parker. But with word that the senior pass catcher will miss six to eight weeks following foot surgery, the Louisville offense will be a step slower to start the year.
There’s no denying the talent of Parker in the passing game. Last season, he led a somewhat limited Louisville passing attack with 885 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 55 receptions. He came into his senior season as one of the top receiving prospects in college football and was named to the short list for this season’s Biletnikoff Award. He figured to be the centerpiece of the Louisville offense this fall where Petrino figured to find plenty of opportunities for the talented playmaker in the wide-open Cardinal attack.
Without Parker available for the first part of the season, Louisville will turn to the trio of Kai De La Cruz, Eli Rogers, and James Quick to start the season against the Miami Hurricanes. Rogers was the most productive of the group last season when he posted 44 receptions for 536 yards and four touchdowns while Quick looked like he was poised for an expanded role in the offense this fall. That expanded role is getting bumped up to “featured” it seems while Parker is sidelined.
Louisville faces a tough challenge moving from the AAC to the ACC in 2014 and the road will only be tougher without the services of DeVante Parker to start the year. Will the Cardinals be able to overcome his loss in the early going and still get off to a quick start in their new conference home?