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The return of Mr. Floyd

Nov 3, 2009, 7:30 AM EST

(THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED…)

With Charlie Weis delivering the official news today at his press conference, Michael Floyd is now officially cleared to return for the Irish offense. Let’s take a look at the return of the sophomore receiver and what it means to the Irish offense.

While Golden Tate has been building up his Heisman Trophy resume, Michael Floyd has been healing his broken clavicle. Saturday’s game against Navy will represent seven full weeks the gifted sophomore has rested after his collarbone broke against Michigan State. In the two-plus games that Floyd did play, the results were pretty much transcendent.

Floyd’s 2009 season started with astonishing efficiency. He had four catches against Nevada, three of which he took to the end zone. Against Michigan, Floyd had his way with the Wolverines, and was only slowed by the pavement surrounding the playing field, which sunk a deep cut into Floyd’s leg and kept him off the field for the pivotal minutes of the game. While Floyd was out, Jimmy Clausen’s critical third down pass sailed past Floyd’s replacement, true freshman Shaq Evans, giving Michigan the chance it needed to defeat the Irish in the final seconds. Michael returned to action against Michigan State the next week, seemingly unharmed by the flesh wound and started off his afternoon with a bang, hauling in a touchdown pass from Jimmy Clausen in the corner of the end zone and moving into a tie for 9th place in the Notre Dame record books with Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown at 12 career TD receptions. Brown played 43 games in his Irish career. Floyd was playing in his thirteenth. Just minutes later, in the opposite end zone, Floyd came down with what looked like touchdown catch number 13, but a replay official somehow disagreed. While settling for a short field goal was disappointing, seeing Floyd scamper to the bench with his arm pinned to his chest was devastating.

Last year, Floyd missed the final three regular season games with a knee injury. The maturing Irish offense went 6-4 in the ten games that Floyd played during his true freshman season, averaging 285 yards in the air with him in the lineup. With Floyd out, the offense fell apart, it’s total yardage down a third and the passing yardage down to just 147 yards a game. While this  year’s offense was clearly better suited to replace Floyd, even if he was a much larger part of the offense, I had my worries.

I wrote this after the Michigan State game:

When Michael Floyd went down with a broken collarbone in the second
quarter, the Irish offense changed. With Floyd, the Irish are a dynamic
deep-strike offense, with a capable second receiver in Golden Tate and
an emerging star at tight end in Kyle Rudolph. Without Floyd, the Irish
rode the back of Armando Allen, relying on key third down conversions
from the Wildcat, or short throws to the remaining receivers. In a best
case scenario, Floyd will be back for the USC game, but a capable
second receiver needs to emerge. Duval Kamara seems to be the most
likely candidate, but we’ve yet to see any true results from the
promising start of Kamara’s career. With Floyd on the field, the Irish
can take shots down the field and open up the game with a wide array of
screen passes and runs. Without him, the Irish need to execute better
than the opposing defense, a task made more difficult with the sloppy
mental play we’ve seen thus far from the Irish. When the Irish take the
field next Saturday against Purdue, a capable second receiver must
emerge.

Golden Tate has done more than just emerge, forcing himself into the conversation for the nation’s best player. But for all the talk of the Irish offense not missing a beat, there’s been pretty good evidence that the offense has stagnated. In the red zone alone, the Irish conversion rate has plummeted. In the 10 red zone appearances the Irish made with Floyd, Notre Dame scored 7 touchdowns and kicked 2 field goals, converting 70 percent of their trips into touchdowns. In the 19 red zone appearances since Floyd was injured, the total conversion rate only dipped minimally from 90 to 84 percent, but the touchdown rate plummeted, falling from 70 down to 47 percent, dropping the Notre Dame offense to 75th in TD conversion rate.  (The 70 percent the Irish were averaging with Floyd would’ve been good for 20th.)

On a larger scale, the Irish’s total offense has also taken a hit without Floyd. While looking at yardage totals could skew the data even more, taking a look at Notre Dame’s offensive performance against the average performance of each defense does a good job comparing apples to apples. Notre Dame is gaining 91 yards more than what their opponents are giving up to the rest of their schedule. Yet to see the difference Floyd makes to the offense, note that in the games Floyd played, the Irish averaged a robust +126 yards over the average, while in the five games he missed they out-gained opponents at a more modest +68 yardage rate.

Some will argue that Floyd’s return against Navy might not be as important as getting him back and healthy for Pitt. Right now, the Irish are auditioning every week for voters and bowl representatives, and getting Floyd back in the swing of things against Navy makes a lot of sense, especially in the friendly confines of Notre Dame Stadium.

Besides, assuming he’s gotten a clean bill of health, we’ve been robbed of seeing Floyd on the field for the past six weeks. The fan in me is ready to see the Irish’s most talented player get back on the field.

(Special thanks to the always incredible FunkDoctorSpock for some statistical help…)
 

  1. ND BRIAN - Nov 3, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    YES SIR~!!! Oh my goodness…I can see the nasty that ND is going to dish out to their adversaries…Hopefully the other receivers will still make solid contributions…What a great job Parris, Toma, Kamara (surprisingly), and Goodman did during his absence. GO IREESSH!!

  2. sharkey - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:20 PM

    Incredible… who?????

  3. Irish Fan - Nov 3, 2009 at 11:38 PM

    Awesome news to have Michael Floyd back! He will probably only have a limited role for the Navy game but will play a role in the Pitt game. If everyone stays healthy, ND will have the top rated passing game in the country.

  4. Irish Fan - Nov 3, 2009 at 11:38 PM

    Awesome news to have Michael Floyd back! He will probably only have a limited role for the Navy game but will play a role in the Pitt game. If everyone stays healthy, ND will have the top rated passing game in the country.

  5. Irish Fan - Nov 3, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    Awesome news to have Michael Floyd back! He will probably only have a limited role for the Navy game but will play a role in the Pitt game. If everyone stays healthy, ND will have the top rated passing game in the country.

  6. Irish Fan - Nov 4, 2009 at 11:21 AM

    With a suspect D that gives up a lot of yardage it is comforting to have Mr. Floyd back. As far as most talented player one could also make the arguement for Mr. Clausen and Mr. Tate.All three are certainly deserving.

  7. robertg - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    keith,
    1. it really is great to have floyd back and dayne crist will be fully ready for 2010.
    2. having had their faudulent rumour campaigns about the job securities of charlie and his staff blow up in their faces, notre dame’s enemies have started their latest fraudulent rumour campaign to try to drive recruits away from notre dame and to other schools.
    3. that fraudulent rumour is that jimmy clausen and golden tate are going to head off for the nfl at the end of this season and not be back for 2010.
    4. sure, jimmy and golden will test the nfl waters without agents, but they are both much too intelligent and loyal to notre dame to leave early. in addition, both jimmy and golden know that they are not yet ready for the nfl.
    5. the possibility of injuries is quite real. however, there is plenty of insurance available to cover such risks completely and that jimmy and golden, neither of whom come from families which are in any economic need, and any other notre dame student athlete can take full advantage of such insurance, as brady quinn and others have done in the past.
    6. many financial institutions will put up the premiums as low interest loans based on the feedback from the nfl dry runs.
    7. as is not the case with the full time football players at most other schools, notre dame’s student athletes all leave notre dame with degrees in real academic disciplines with real marketable skills, in addition to getting the best preparation possible for their shots at the nfl and other pro sports.
    8. for everything that happens on the fields, we have absolute faith in charlie and in his staff, in notre dame’s student athletes, and in the univesity of notre dame for 2009 and for the future.
    9. with respect to certain off the field issues, such as fraudulent negative information designed to deceive recruits and their families and dishonest officiating, rules enforcement, and ranking systems, notre dame needs and will get the assistance of us and other real notre dame fans.
    GO IRISH!!!

  8. jheu - Nov 4, 2009 at 6:50 PM

    STFU robertg.
    GO FLOYD!!!!!!!!!!

  9. irishIN2010 - Nov 4, 2009 at 8:16 PM

    this is huge, but their defense is and always will be the big concearn. With Tate and Floyd in there it should open things up for Allen, Rudolph even some of the lesser knowns. If they do make it to a BCS game that won’t mean anything if their defense doesn’t improve. 05 and 06 are good examples of this

  10. Gipper 78 - Nov 4, 2009 at 8:30 PM

    Micheal Floyd !!! THATS WHO !!!

  11. The Leprechaun - Nov 5, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    Navy always gets up for this game. I’m glad we can add Floyd back to the arsenal. The remaining defensive coordinators have alot mor eto worry about now. I expect ND to win out.
    Check myfightingirish.net for more ND fan opinions.

  12. john - Nov 5, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    Floyd back will just mean that CW will make our O one dimensional again. That should take care of a loss to Pitt and a very close game if not a loss to Stanford, then we can be rid of CW! Cincy is right in the hunt with 1and 2 star athletes, but who would want BK when you have CW?

  13. john - Nov 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Lets see anyone want to make a wager as to how many back of the corner fades we will see thru the rest of the season?

  14. D. Goldcamp - Nov 5, 2009 at 7:13 PM

    Wow John, What an idiot. As if any DB in the country can cover Floyd on a fade route.
    Clausen will drop it into Floyd like he did in the begining of the season and the Stagnat offence that you clain Charlie will employ did pretty well for brady and the Pats.
    Who do you think has been writting up all these wild cat plays and plays? Let me give you a hint. It wasn’t Golden.

  15. Chris - Nov 6, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    I think the TD conversion in the red zone is a little misleading as the majority of those came against the Huskies, I recall them missing one (the last) vs. USC, the 4th down at the 1 against BC, and to be fair that kid made a great play, and one, the opening drive against WSU. I can’t really recall the Perdue game but they were missing more than just Floyd in that game. If they start piling up TD’s again down the stretch we’ll see. (Would’ve loved to have him on those 4 plays at the end against USC, oh well)

  16. Richard Irish - Nov 6, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    I am delighted that Michael is going to return to the Irish lineup and wish him well. His presence alone adds a real spark.
    Go Irish!

  17. robertg - Nov 6, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    1. anyone who wants to vote for jimmy clausen to win the davey o’brien as the best college qb for this year will find the link on the front page of und.com. after you register, you can vote once every day until 11/22/2009.
    2. based on the current standings in the public vote, other schools have organized voting campaigns. you will be surprised how low jimmy’s voting percentage is at this time.
    3. while you are at the site, if you click on voting process, you will find that the public vote counts only 5% and that the rest of the outcome is determined by the votes of all living winners of the award and a panel of other voters who, with the exceptions of lou holtz, kirk herbsteit, and one other person consist of self proclaimed experts from various media organizations who never played college football and who are as qualified to evaluate college qbs as my pet dogs,
    4. the voters who really control the heisman and the other awards are also completely lacking in qualifications and many are known nd hating bigots.
    5. who should be the voters? that one is easy. in the case of the davey o’brien award, the votes should be limited to previous winners and current and living nfl qbs who have the best statistics at the time of voting.
    6. how do we change these corrupt award selection systems? you will find mailing addresses at each website. if you look deeper, you can find out the names and home addresses of each trustee for each award.
    7. you can also find the names of every corporate sponsor of each award.
    8. the more people that they hear from, the more likely they are to change the process.
    9. fixing these problems for this season is a real long shot, but, before next season, we will shove transparent and honset systems down the throats of the trustees for each award.
    GO IRISH!!!

  18. college degrees in order - Jan 18, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    I am taking a college degree in accounting. I am completely uninterested. I am consideing a college degree in geography. Is the switch easy?

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