Navy, Notre Dame’s opponent this Saturday, received some horrifying news yesterday. Superstar wide receiver (no, not Golden Tate) Mike Floyd has finally been cleared to play this weekend.
Floyd received the news from doctors on Monday night and was “hooting and hollering going down the steps” when he heard the brilliant information, coach Weis said yesterday.
“Wasn't too long before I was already getting a text from No. 7 [Clausen],” Weis told reporters yesterday. “He might have been just as happy as No. 3 [Floyd] was.”
The speedster Floyd broke his collarbone in the third game of the season against Michigan State when he went up to grab a touchdown and came down hard on his shoulder. At the time, he was leading the nation in receiving yards per game (160), and already had five touchdown catches.
His return, along with Tate, re-creates arguably the most dangerous receiving duo in the nation. During Floyd’s absence, Tate has transformed himself into a top tier receiver and some have mentioned him among worthy Heisman finalists. Now, the two will be back on the same line of scrimmage for the first time since September 19.
Although elation has hit the campus of Notre Dame, coach Weis noted in his conference yesterday that Tate would play sparingly against the Midshipmen.
“We have a plan for what we're going to do with Michael,” Weis said yesterday. “He won't play every play. You know, we wouldn't put him out there, and he wouldn't go out there if that's how he was going to think.
"I think that the biggest thing that he's going to have to happen is get tackled once. And he'll get hit in practice some, but, I doubt that we're going to try him out in practice and see how that shoulder feels getting tackled. I think we're going to have to wait to find that out, you know, as that happens in the game.”
So what kind of impact will Floyd’s return have on Notre Dame down the stretch? Well for one, their already potent offense just became even more commanding. With Tate’s breakout as one of the nation’s top playmakers, defenses now have to plan for Floyd again, which is downright scary. Also, Floyd’s deep routes will stretch the defense out, which will ultimately open up the short passing game to Rudolph or a tailback coming out of the backfield.
And with Pittsburgh, Uconn and Stanford defenses remaining on the schedule, this is just what the Irish needed to make a push for the BCS.