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Offseason Cheatsheet: Wide Receivers

Aug 23, 2010, 7:39 PM EDT

The series continues with your Du Lac approved crib-sheet for the upcoming season. For more, check out the quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends.

POSITION OVERVIEW:

If we’ve learned anything from studying Brian Kelly’s offense, it’s that a ton of wide receivers are going to get playing time. Between four and five wide formations, and a hurry-up system that finished last in the nation in time-of-possession, if the Irish offense is going to thrive, they’ll do it with at least six wide receivers playing regularly. Luckily for Kelly, the Irish have depth to burn. Even after losing Biletnikoff winning wide receiver Golden Tate to the NFL, the Irish have over a half-dozen legitimate options spread wide at anytime. While the Irish would’ve loved to have Tate return, they’ll replace his presence with options young and old.

ROSTER READING:

Short a program? Here’s every wide receiver listed on the roster:

     No.    Name                         Yr.      Ht./Wt.      Hometown/High School
      1       Deion Walker             Jr.      6-3/198     Christchurch, VA (Christchurch)
      3       Michael Floyd            Jr.      6-3/227      St. Paul, MN (Cretin-Derham Hall)
      6       Theo Riddick             So.     5-11/198    Manville, NJ (Immaculta)
      7       TJ Jones                    Fr.      5-11/187   Gainesville, GA (Gainesville)
     11      Shaquelle Evans        So.     6-1/205     Inglewood, CA (Inglewood)
     18      Duval Kamara            Sr.      6-4/225     Jersey City, NJ (Hoboken)
     19      Robby Toma               So.     5-9/175     Laie, HI (Punahou)
     28      Austin Collinsworth     Fr.      6-1/195     Fort Thomas, KY (Highlands)
     38      Christopher Gurries    Sr.      5-10/186   Purcellville, VA (Loudown Valley)
     42      Dan Franco                 Sr.      5-10/188  Granger, IN (South Bend Clay)
     81      John Goodman           Jr.       6-3/207    Fort Wayne, IN (Bishop Dwenger)
     86      Bennett Jackson         Fr.       6-0/172    Hazlet, NJ (Raritan)
     87      Daniel Smith               Fr.       6-4/208    South Bend, IN (Clay)

KELLY ON WIDE RECEIVERS:

On Floyd: “In 20 years, I have not had a player who has worked as hard as Michael Floyd has worked. And I mean that. He has out-worked everybody on the offensive side of the ball to the
point where he has single-handedly set the bar for everybody else needs
to bring their play.”

On Riddick: “I really have high high expectations for him. He’s an elite player. He’s learning a position, but I think we’ll be talking a lot about Theo Riddick as we move through the season.”

On Goodman: We can win with John Goodman. We can win football games. To be a championship player, he has to be more consistent, and he knows that. He’s got to finish off plays, but we can win with Goody.”

On Collinsworth: “Collinsworth is somebody that is not in the two deep yet, but he’s on
every kick team, every special teams that we have.”

On Jones: “I mean, he can play for us right now. I think he showed that on the
first quick hitch he took and ran over a pretty good corner. He’s
physical, he plays fast, he’s smart, he’s a true freshman… He’s a young man that will factor in prominently what we do on offense in the fall.”

Tony Alford on Duval Kamara: “Duval Kamara may not be the fastest guy, but he’s played a lot of good football. He’s a big body, he’s got good hands and good ball skills.”

CRYSTAL BALL:

As much as Irish fans have to be kicking themselves that Golden Tate decided to take his talents to Seattle, the Irish have plenty of depth on the edges of the offense, and wide receiver play will definitely not be an issue for the Irish. Allowing Michael Floyd to lineup on the opposite side of the field from Kyle Rudolph and having a weapon like Theo Riddick in the slot will give the Irish the true ability to split a defense in thirds, making it harder for teams to roll coverage to either of their preseason All-Americans. I fully expect senior Duval Kamara to take control of the starting wideout position across from Floyd, but I also expect guys like John Goodman and Shaquelle Evans to make some noise as well.  Spring stalwart TJ Jones should be the freshman that makes the biggest impact, but speedster Bennett Jackson and all-around athlete Austin Collinsworth might also find their way into the box score.

POSITION STRENGTH:

B. If Tate was still on the roster, I’d mark this an A+, but even without him, there is plenty of potential for greatness at this position group, even if the players behind All-American Michael Floyd are long on potential and short on actual production.

  1. TLNDMA - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    The time of possesion issue worries me. Especially with how porous our defense was last year. If Kelly hadn’t had a history of success with his formula I would be very skeptical. Being a little old school(ok a lot), I’m use to wearing a teams defense down by keeping them on the field, not by pace of play. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
    Two teams that this may have the desired results against, are two of our biggest rivals. Michigan, being extremely thin in the defensive backfield, may have great problems with this. U$C being at the end of the year, with a reduced roster size and a little more attrtion during the season, may be a little thin also. Plus ND’s offense should be humming by then.
    We shall see.

  2. Canadian James - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    It worries me also about the time of possesion, but I won’t make any judgments until I see it play out. I think the Irish faithful (me included) have been a little quick to crucify or glorify our past coaches. This time I’ll wait to pass any judgments on this new coaching staff and its philosophy until after the season.
    I can’t wait to play U$C this year. I’m so excited it keeps up at night. This is the year we should be able to put them in their place. I believe they currently only have 67 players on the roster, and if you take in to account that at least 10 freshman probably aren’t ready to play, its like they really only have 57 men on the roster. With natural attrition and injury rates throughout the season, they could be down to only 50ish by game time. Regardless of what happens this season, we will know we are on the right track if we pounce on the wounded trojan.

  3. Doug - Aug 24, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    I agree James. We have been a little quick to crucify and glorify. Like it has been said here before, I’m in the state of Missouri…Show Me.
    I too am worried about the TOP, but I’ll wait to pass judgement at the end of the year. Hopefully with better coaching and better conditioning, the defense will be better suited to handle the added pressure and TOP.

  4. Jack G. - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    Not sure why you are all worried about TOP when there are other, more significant things to worry about. Theoretically TOP MAY be the sign of a super efficient offense. That is, if an offense regularly scores quickly and at will then it won’t be on the field very long. It can be a very misleading statistic. Personally, I like the idea of trying to score like there’s no tomorrow at every snap of the ball, as if the whole game is a two-minute drill. But you’re right, time will tell…

  5. Justin - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    One thing we have to remember is. Defense gets worn down physically and mentally. If BK offense is as good as it was in Cincy, we are going to wear down opposing defenses mentally by scoring points at will. As long as we are scoring points and our D gets 2 or 3 stops/holds more than the opposing teams D, our team will be fine. GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!

  6. jarious - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    TOP itself should not be a concern. Kelly’s Cincy team was ranked dead last in TOP in 2009, but was among the highest scoring teams. Three-and-outs will be a bit more of a problem than usual, since it will seem like the defense never left the field. The defense will see the field more, but I suspect that will be offset by more personnel rotation. The D-line rotation will be interesting.
    For me, the big concern (or, more positively, thing to watch) is red zone efficiency. ND was brutal in the RZ last year, and I can wait to see how the spread style opens things up when the field gets short.
    Speaking of receivers, what is going on with Deion Walker? Seems like he is lost in the depth chart, and is getting squeezed between established vets and the newcomers. Heck, even Keith gave him no love. Dude may need to turn in his #1.

  7. Art Vandelay - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I hope the conditioning not only prepares the offense for the pace of the game, but also our defense. There will invariably be fumbles, INT’s and other miscues by the offense which will cause the D to spend a learge amount of time on the field, even with available subs.
    @Canadian James…you make an interesting point. I hadn’t really thought about USC’s depth by the time we play them. I’d prefer to dominate a healthy Trojan squad, however. That way there’s no excuses. Additionally, if you’re so excited it keeps up all night, consult a physician. At least that’s what the commercial says.

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