Notre Dame football: Happy return as Floyd says goodbye
“I want to be one of the best wide receivers in the country,” the Irish senior said Wednesday. “And to do that, you've got to be an all-around player. You've got to be able to block for your teammates and be able to catch the ball and run routes.”
One of the few remaining Irish receiving marks the 6-foot-3, 224-pounder from St. Paul, Minn., doesn’t have his name attached to is friend and former teammate Golden Tate’s single-season record of 93 receptions.
Floyd, the nation’s ninth-leading receiver, has 77 heading into Saturday’s clash between 24th-ranked Notre Dame (7-3) and Boston College (3-7).
He also has a chance to help the Irish shed a rather dubious distinction.
The NCAA does not keep records for the worst team punt return average ever, but since the year 2000, the lowest season-ending average is 0.45. The Irish are on pace to usurp that mark, with a 0.3 average - worst currently in the 120-team FBS.
It is a national trend that the number of punt returns and punt return yardage are both ebbing.
The high-water mark since 2000 came in 2002, when FBS teams averaged 33.49 returns per team that season and 10.45 yards per return. The numbers in 2011 are a millennium-low 20.6 and 8.6.
“It’s two things,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of the fall-off. “One, you’re allowed to go cover prior to the punt, and two, when teams committed in college to spread the field, (punt returns) really took a hit.
“I remember when you had to wait until the ball was kicked. You could set up a wall, get behind the picket fence and all that stuff. You’ve got no chance for that (now). You just need an electric guy there who makes the first couple of guys miss.”
Kelly started the season with Theo Riddick being the lead punt returner, but pulled him after he fumbled twice in the season opener with South Florida. Sure-handed John Goodman took over, but he fumbled a punt as well two weeks later.
Beginning with the USC game on Oct. 22, Floyd began alternating with Goodman. Still, the Irish have returned just 10 of 52 punts this season and none in their past five games.
Floyd would like to change that.
ND’s two final regular-season opponents, Boston College and Stanford, rank 24th and 58th, respectively, in punt coverage.
Where are they now?
A week from Saturday, Dan Wenger will celebrate Senior Day - again.
For the former Notre Dame offensive lineman, it will be his third - two with the Irish, and this, his first at Florida,
Wenger is a sixth-year senior for the Gators (5-5). and will start his 11th game of the season Saturday against Furman. His first nine starts came at left guard. This will be his second straight nod as the No. 1 center.