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Friday, March 16, 2012
Offseason spotlight: Theo Riddick

By Matt Fortuna

With Notre Dame's spring practice kicking off in six days, we're taking a look at three players whose offseasons could go a long way toward the Irish's success in 2012. Here, we look at a running back turned wide receiver who can be a playmaker in a number of different spots.

Spotlight: Theo Riddick

2011 summary: Playing in only 11 games because of a hamstring injury, Riddick caught 38 passes for 436 yards and three touchdowns. He moved to running back for the last two games of the season (including the bowl), rushing for 63 yards on 14 carries. He started the season as a punt returner but did not get off to the best of starts, fumbling a return in the season-opener. He totaled negative-one yard on three returns.

The skinny: Tony Alford is now coaching both the running backs and the slot wide receivers, a group Riddick falls under either way. Riddick seems more comfortable at running back, but the addition of Amir Carlisle -- who is now eligible for 2012 -- makes the backfield a little more crowded and can free up Riddick to catch passes. Carlisle could also be a factor in the return game, a place that would seem to suit Riddick's skill set. Riddick was never able to properly adjust to punt returns last season, but the coaching staff likely hasn't given up on that project just yet. There are plenty of options for Riddick, and the earlier the staff can decide on where to use him, the better, though the ideas have probably been flowing for Alford since the time the coach got his new assignment.