With a logjam of explosive talent at the running back position, head coach Brian Kelly made official something often debated this offseason: Theo Riddick is moving to wide receiver.
With Kelly’s offense not nearly as dependent on the traditional running back as Charlie Weis’ pro-style attack, the move should help get the ball in the hands of Riddick, as well as open up carries for backs Robert Hughes, Jonas Gray, and freshman Cierre Wood. With Armando Allen entrenched as a starter, and with a skillset nearly tailor-made for the spread attack, it was imperative to move somebody, and the 5-foot-10, 195-pound rising sophomore fit the bill.
The Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton was the first one with the story, speaking to Kelly in New York.
“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 has 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.”
As Hamilton tells it, Kelly sees Riddick as a Jacquizz Rodgers clone, which is certainly something that all Irish fans can get excited about.
“He can catch the fly sweep, you can get screens to him, you get him to run the ball, he can be out in the slot, he can do a lot of things,” Kelly told Hamilton.
I spent some time this weekend analyzing the running back position, and the biggest question I had is how does Kelly maximize the development of the players that he has on the roster?
Knowing Kelly’s track record at shifting players to other positions, the move of Riddick makes complete sense. The good news for Theo and Irish fans is that most of those moves by Kelly have gone extremely well.