As I pointed out in the preseason, you’ll see a trend repeating itself upon looking at Notre Dame box scores this fall. Junior Tight End Kyle Rudolph will lead the team in catches most of the time, and junior wide out Michael Floyd will usually be tops in receiving yards. In Saturday’s 23-12 victory over Purdue, both receivers tied for the team lead for catches with five. And Floyd led the team with 82 receiving yards while Rudolph chipped in 43.
Coach Kelly made it quite clear at Media Day who his leaders on offense and defense will be this season.
“There are guys that people gravitate towards. There are guys that set a standard for the way they play. And right now it’s (Manti) Te’o on defense and (Michael) Floyd on offense,” Kelly said at the season opening presser.
Floyd talked about being the focal point of opposing defenses.
“If they want to come towards me, we have a lot of players that can step up, if they want to emphasize on me,” he said before talking about the improving chemistry between QB Dayne Crist and himself. “It’s just developing and getting a lot better now.”
Floyd entered this season with a career 84.1 receiving yards per game average, highest in the nation among returning receivers. His 5.1 catches per game is fourth among active returning FBS pass-catchers. He’s currently third on the school list for career 100 yard receiving yard games with nine. He needs six more C-Notes to catch Golden Tate for the ND record.
If and when he gets there depends on how well he handles the transition from the pro-style to the spread-option.
“A lot of different routes, with the spread you can be inside, you can be outside, so there’s a lot of routes you need to know. I think everything’s going to come together, we’re going to get better as the season goes on,” Floyd said.
And of course no story about Michael Floyd is complete without mentioning that the true key to his realization of that enormous potential is staying healthy. Floyd led all FBS wideouts in the nation with a 29.09 yards per catch average and he was tied for the national lead in receiving TDs when he suffered a broken collarbone against Michigan State.
Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru