SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Tony Alford has this story he likes to tell about Theo Riddick.
Alford, in his own unique way, has seen Riddick from a view few others have during the latter's four years at Notre Dame. From running backs coach under former Irish head man Charlie Weis to receivers coach the past two seasons to a hybrid role of running backs and slot receivers coach this year, the assistant's recent career path has all but mirrored that of Notre Dame's leading rusher.
So in the spring, shortly after Riddick's return to the backfield -- where he would bear some of his old responsibilities as a slot man, too -- the senior messed up an assignment. Bad.
Head coach Brian Kelly, in no pleasant terms, let Riddick hear about it. And the response was night and day from what Alford had come to expect.
"When I saw a distinct change is when Coach Kelly ripped him a new one for a mistake that was made and got after him," Alford said. "And instead of Theo going in the tank, which he had a tendency to do, and to shut things off when Coach would get after him, he looked up and said: 'Yes, sir. I got it.' He patted Coach on the rear end, said: 'I got it,' turned around, walked away and got it. Versus pouting, where he had a tendency to do that earlier in his career.
"Which told me that he's finally getting it. This is not a personal attack. We're trying to get you better."
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