Theo Riddick Moving to Wide Receiver

It was bound to happen.  Players move positions every time there is a coaching change.  We got a glimpse of this on Tuesday with a report that rising sophomore Theo Riddick will be moving to wide receiver and competing for playing time in the slot this spring.  Riddick made his mark early in his freshman and established himself as the main kick returner and a viable option at halfback.  Starting this spring, he will be looking to make his mark at a new position.

Rising soiphomore Theo Riddick will move to wide receiver this spring where he will fit for playing time as the slot receiver. (Photo - IconSMI)

The Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton reported the story on his blog on Tuesday with quotes from head coach Brian Kelly citing the need to get more explosive players on the field as the reason for the move.

“We have to get more touches for the three dynamic players at running back,” Kelly said. “We got three really dynamic players that need to get on the field.

“So if you assume that the other guy we have to find room for is Cierre Wood, then if you have Cierre and Theo, somebody’s not going to get a chance to get touches. So somebody had to go to wide receiver. And Theo has the best overall skills. So he’s going to get a chance to compete for that inside slot receiver (spot) right away.”

The move makes a lot of sense.  Riddick showed a lot of promise as a freshman tailback.  He had a very nice burst and looked like he was about to break a long run at any time.  Getting an athlete like that the ball in his hands in the open field in a spread offense makes a lot of sense.

The move could also give a clue as to what Kelly and the staff think of the crop of wide receivers if they are willing to take Riddick out of the backfield and insert him into the receiving corps.

Heading into the spring, the only wide receiver who has a starting spot locked down is Michael Floyd.  The junior to be has a stranglehold on the #1 receiver spot at this point with senior Duval Kamara, juniors John Goodman and Deion Walker, and sophomores Shaquelle Evans and Roby Toma all fighting for playing time this spring.  Evans, Goodman, and Kamara are likely to battle it out for the #2 spot with Toma and Riddick the more natural candidates for the slot position.

Working in Riddick’s favor here is that he will be coached by the same position coach he had as a frosh in 2009 with Tony Aflord making the move from running backs to wide receiver coach this off-season.

Working against Riddick in his move is his recovery from off-season shoulder surgery.  How much he can participate in spring practice could determine how successful of a transition this is for the talented sophomore.

Cierre Wood didn’t record a snap as a freshman, but it seems like the new staff is pretty high on him based on Kelly’s comments.  Coming out of high school, Wood was seen as the more highly regarded prospect by most recruiting services, but he  got passed on the depth chart pretty early in camp by Riddick and didn’t see the field as a true freshman.  It looks like that could change in a hurry under the new regime.  This too makes sense since his game should fit in perfectly with the spread offense.

It is also interesting that Kelly mentioned Riddick, Wood, and undoubtedly Armando Allen (the report didn’t make mention of Allen by name).  What this means for Robert Hughes and Jonas Gray remains to be seen.   Hughes and Gray were the #2 and 3 backs for most of the season.  Where they now fit into the plans of Kelly and the new staff is unclear at this point.

There’s going to be a lot of positions up for grabs this spring and the back up running back and slot receiver positions just got a little more interesting.


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  1. TheTruth908 9 years ago

    Although I’m sure Theo will undoubtably be a playmaker at any position he moves to, this move is just the wrong decision. Theo was born to be a running back, I’m talking the next Barry Sanders here. Theo Riddick will one day be to the NFL what LeBron James is now to the NBA. Its that serious. I played football either with or against Theo ever since I started playing the game. His highschool, Immaculata, was our rival and I’m telling you first hand this kids got moves like Tomlinson and power like Peterson. It would genuinely be a waste of one of the futures great backs to put him anywhere other than Halfback. Let this be known, I’ve said all I can..

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  2. kelleyirish 10 years ago

    Read on another site that Cierre Wood is moving to DB.

    Also in the same article comments from the players that the differences between the previous and new coaching staff is night and day with the new staff being far more professional creating better morale and a higher sense of trust in the locker room. Other news says there is no one looking to transfer.

    All good things. Time will tell. But I am really looking forward to the Kelley led Irish taking the field.

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  3. joey d 10 years ago

    Who was at junior day???

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  4. IrishFan 10 years ago

    ND finally got a commit. Brad Carrico d-end

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  5. scav 10 years ago

    Here is an interesting post off of another site:

    I’ve heard that the ND staff is pretty happy with the wide receiver situation… From what I’ve heard Floyd and Kamara are the #1 & #2. Nothing is set, but it seems the staff is comfortable with that heading into spring ball. Heard there is going to be tight competiiton for the 3rd and 4th spot with everyone in the mix.

    As I mentioned below the staff likes Armando and Hughes as the #1 and #2 at running back heading into spring ball. The staff wants guys that can hadle all three phases of the game, and those two stand out. Staff really likes how Hughes catches the ball. I’ve heard he’s really stepped into a leadership role. He’s working extremely hard and listens. He’s dropped his body fat %, and added muscle weight. He’s hovering around 240. Doubt we’ll see him down to 230 lbs, staff feels that he just has the body type to carry weight.

    Just keep hearing similar type of coments about competition, competition, competition. Everything revolves around competition. Heard every workout ends with some form of compeition. One catching on is the tug-of-war with a tire. Man on man… no time limit. ends when one guy pulls the other 5 yards. Heard that Blanton and Evans had a 10 minute battle…

    Training table continues to be a hit… Guys spending a lot more time together and more of a team atmosphere.

    A comment I heard about the former staff… Most of the players did like the former staff and respected them, but they also like the change. Things are just diffferent. They’re being pressed, and pushed… these guys are competitors and achievers and they like to be pressed and pushed. The sand pit hasn’t been added to the situation yet, but they all know about it and they’re looking forward to it.

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    1. Evan 10 years ago

      Thanks for the inside info scav,

      But I just don’t understand Hughes at the #2 back position…. He has his moments no doubt, I think the other guys need to touch the ball more, and I think with the style of Kellys offense, Jonas, Armando and Cierre will flourish.

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  6. CTDugan 10 years ago

    I personally see this situation playing out:

    They moved Riddick to wide reciever. This leaves Allen, Wood, and Hughes at running back. With the departure of Aldridge I think this opens the door for a possible move to fullback for Hughes. If that happens then I see Allen as the #1, Cierre Wood as the #2 guy and Jonas Gray as the #3 back. This way you have a solid leader in Allen, you have the dangerous speed in Wood, and you have a cut back specialist in Gray. I think all will work out very well this season as far as the backfield goes.

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  7. palk21 10 years ago

    I’m with IrishChan regarding joining the Big 10. While it might inevitably happen, what will happen to long standing rivalries Notre Dame currently has? On that same note, Notre Dame currently plays whoever they want and ALL the teams they play happen to Division IA (FBS) teams and not many big time programs can say that. I think ND will feel pressure to play Division IAA (FCS) teams so that they get wins to make the conference look better. If you have an undefeated ND playing an undefeated Michigan, Ohio St., Wisconsin, etc. that will make the Big 10 look better, which is what the conference wants.

    I always liked that ND never gave in and played IAA teams, although they might play some less talented IA teams, they are still IA teams. That’s my opinion, whether it be accurate or not (only time will tell), that’s something I don’t want to see happen to Notre Dame Football. I always enjoyed seeing who Notre Dame was going to schedule next. IF they join the Big 10, that suspense will be eliminated. Anyway, I hope they stay Indy and the comments are just made are irrevelant, but again, only time will tell.

    GO IRISH!!

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  8. S Man 10 years ago

    I like this move. I like that he didn’t mention Hughes, not sure why alot of people have been so high on him, he hasn’t shown much; looks slow, and doesn’t break many tackles, not very strong. I really liked what I saw of Jonas Gray, big back with power and speed. Fumbilitis kept him off the field, but hope he sticks and they get him some time. I’m thinking he’ll tranfer to a smaller school and be a stud.

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