Not all of the injury news on Tuesday was bad for Irish fans. Charlie Weis announced that super star wide receiver Michael Floyd was medically cleared for action this weekend when the Irish play host to the Naval Academy. Floyd, out with broken collarbone since the third week of the season, will bolster an already explosive offense and will likely be worked back into the offense slowly.
According to Weis, Floyd was excited to hear he was cleared and is anxious to get back out on the field.
You heard him hooting and hollering down the stairs last night. Our trainers did a good job. And talked to the doctor guru down in Alabama. And he agreed, let’s go. And Michael called his mom up to make sure that we were all on the same page. Because I let him, you know — I let Michael make the call. Once he got cleared to go, you know, still let Michael make the call whether or not this was the week or not.
Notre Dame fans will be hooting and hollering at the sight of #3 back in the lineup for the Irish. The sophomore wide receiver started the season off like a house on fire with five touchdowns in his first 10 quarters of action. Irish fans won’t be alone in being excited to see Floyd back in the line. The guy throwing Floyd the ball was pretty excited to hear the news according to Weis.
He talked to his mom. Talked to me. Came back to me and said, I’m ready to go. Wasn’t too long before I was getting a text from No. 7. He might have been as happy as No. 3 was. I think No. 7 might have been just as happy.
Opposing defensive backs and coordinators, however, aren’t likely to be doing too much hooting and hollering with Floyd back. They’ll be losing more sleep and popping a couple more antacid pills instead – especially considering all of the new ways Weis has found to get Floyd’s running mate Golden Tate the ball.
You know, we’ve had to do a lot of draw ‘em up in the dirt to put him in situations. And we’ll continue to do that. It isn’t like Michael’s back, okay, let’s stop doing what we’re doing with Golden. I think it’s important for us as a coaching staff to approach Golden like Michael’s not back, so that we continue getting Golden involved in every game plan.
The Irish offense didn’t miss much of a beat with Floyd missing. In fact, it was very good in his absence and even put up 27 points against a Southern Cal team that held the Irish to 3 points combined the previous two seasons. With Floyd back though, the Irish offense has a chance to be great. Floyd just adds a whole other dimension to the offense because defenses will have to account for another dangerous receiver.
Throw in the way Weis has moved Golden Tate around, and this offense suddenly looks even more imposing. Opposing defenses had a tough time stopping Golden Tate while Notre Dame shuffled in a couple different players at the second receiver spot. Imagine the tough time they will have now when Tate lines up in the backfield and motions out to the slot with Floyd on the field at the same time.
Don’t expect to see Floyd back to his starting role from start to finish on Saturday against Navy though. Weis said on Tuesday that he won’t be out there all the time and they’d ease him back into action.
He won’t play every play. You know, we wouldn’t put him out there, and he wouldn’t go out there if that’s how he was going to think. I think that the biggest thing that he’s going to have to happen is get tackled once.
Considering the opponent, this is definitely the right course of action for Weis to take to integrate Floyd back into the offense. Notre Dame should be able to handle Navy handily this weekend even if Floyd was still going to be on the sidelines. Look for Weis to get Floyd in the game early and have a couple plays drawn up for him, but to use him sparingly overall. With a very tough road game next week against Pitt, I don’t think Weis will want to let Pitt see too much of the mixture of a healthy Floyd and the expanded role Golden Tate we’ve seen the last five games. He will want to get Floyd back into the flow of playing and getting hit this weekend though so that next weekend he can be prepared for a tough Pitt defense that has had problems defending the pass this year.