Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Floyd elevates game as he climbs up charts
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Michael Floyd got up from his news conference Wednesday, grabbed his hip and looked at a nearby Notre Dame official.
"I'm getting old, man," the senior wide receiver said as he walked out of the Isban Auditorium inside Notre Dame's Guglielmo Athletics Complex.
Michael Floyd has 31 catches for 397 yards this season -- averaging nearly 13 yards per reception.
Whatever discomfort Floyd felt likely had more to do with sitting down for nearly 12 full minutes than anything else. Three games into his senior season, Floyd has been moved all over the field, giving defenses different looks as he blitzes past the Fighting Irish career receiving records and climbs up the ladder of elite wideouts in the nation.
Floyd's 397 receiving yards trail only Washington State's Marquess Wilson (429 yards) for most in the nation. And his 31 catches are just two behind national leader Robert Woods of USC.
Floyd admitted that being looked at as the best receiver in the country has served as motivation, but he is trying not to look too far ahead with nine games remaining.
"I think about it all the time, but it's early in the season and I think I can get better as the season goes on," Floyd said. "Just gotta make sure I keep a level head and don't make mistakes, and improve on the things that I need to the most."
What he has improved on so far is what head coach Brian Kelly calls "the nuances of being a wide receiver" -- blocking, getting more physical and even adding more elements to his speed.
"We've moved him around a lot, as you know," Kelly said. "He's been in virtually every position. His knowledge base of being able to pick up so many different positions has probably been, I would say, the biggest jump for him. I'm really, really impressed with his burst. He didn't have that burst last year. This year when he turns the corner, he's got a burst to him. So I think those are the two things that stand out."
Floyd said that next level of quickness off the ball has come with losing weight during the offseason.
To elevate his game another level, however, he won't be watching his peers across the country.
"I don't really learn from college football players," Floyd said. "I tend to watch NFL most because they're the kind of guys who made it to the highest level.
"But when I look at players from that level, I look at little guys. So I feel like you can get the most information from the little guys -- quick feet, just being able to get off the ball."