Eye in the Sky: Wide Receivers

A full film review of the Irish wide receivers during Saturday's 23-17 win over the Panthers.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: 14 receptions for the Floyd/Riddick combo but Floyd loses a game's worth of yardage to the official's (correct) whistles.

Michael Floyd

One-handed grab of a quick bubble screen turned a Crist incompletion into a 5-yard gain on 1st and 10…Caught a boundary side post in traffic for 14 yards and an Irish first down at the Panthers 7-yard line…Simply outmuscled cornerback Ricky Gary for a 2-yard touchdown to give the Irish a 7-3 lead. Both Floyd and Gary interfered on the fade pattern pass…Showed his desire, maybe frustration, to make something happen, running two steps in the wrong direction (looking for a cutback lane at midfield) following a simple hook route inside….Appeared to run the wrong route (or miss a signal) on Crist's first miss after 12 straight completions. Floyd was, for what its worth, wide open on the slant.

2nd Half:Might have beaten his defender by a step on Crist's scramble throw that resulted in an incomplete jump ball midway through the 3rd Quarter…On the following series, ran through one tackle on a bubble screen for an Irish first down…Leaping 45-yard grab of a Crist post was called back due to a holding call on C Braxston Cave. Floyd beat solo coverage on his second step to the post: at that point, regular cornerbacks have no chance vs. his size/speed ratio…

Got back into the action with a hook route midway through the fourth quarter; Floyd turned the 7-yard hitch into a 13-yard gain, running through multiple defenders…Lost 44 yards for the second time, this time due to pass interference off the ball, negating a game-clinching touchdown catch and sprint down the Panthers sideline. I don't think Riddick needed to interfere to spring Floyd, but he did…Secured a block downfield on Ragone's costly drop (below).

Final Thoughts: Possibly the unluckiest (non-injury) game of his life: Floyd lost 89 yards and touchdown to teammates' penalties. Crist also might have missed him on a scramble deep that would have resulted in another huge gain/TD.

Theo Riddick

Made three defenders miss (including Antuan Reed twice: his arms; then his legs on a failed kick attempt) in space for a 14-yard gain to open up the offense on the game's second drive…Failed to execute a cut block on Dom DeCicco in space though Armando Allen gained 7 yards anyway; Rudolph also lost his block vs. Max Gruder on the play and the tandem combined to tackle Allen who would have had a one man to beat.

2nd Half:How many people are going to look silly vs. Riddick in space over the next 2.5 seasons? He has the best cutback move since Lee Becton and it's twice as quick. Riddick gained 14 yards on an out and made safety Jared Holley miss in a space the size of a phone booth…Caught a next-play bubble from Crist and again gained 10 yards after the catch…Grabbed his third consecutive reception and ran through two poor tackle attempts for a 16-yard gain…Caught a shuffle pass from Crist coming across the formation but there was plenty of traffic to limit the gain to 6 yards…I don't disagree with the pass interference call on Riddick, though that's rarely whistled. Riddick in no way made it appear he was trying to get out of the defender's way: that makes it easy for an official itching to blow his whistle in traffic…Dropped the ensuing Crist throw after a nice hesitation move to break free. Riddick likely would have run for first down yardage with Floyd in front of him securing his man downfield.

Final Thoughts: Coming into his own and beginning to show what he can do in space. Riddick is the team's best open-field player and its not close.

X Receivers: Tai-ler Jones and John Goodman

Goodman opened the game with a quick hook inside vs. zone coverage; Goodman would be advised to turn upfield until he proves dancing has merit (Riddick, for example, can create problems for the defense with multiple cutbacks)…Jones showed fantastic body control on a diving 37-yard post pattern to begin the fourth series; Jones came from wide right across the field Theo Riddick who ran a corner route to the far side.

2nd Half: Goodman dropped a right-to-left square in that hit him in the hands/chest. He has to fight off the defender on his back in these instances…Jones might have broken early on a post-corner to the right pylon but Crist was harassed on his roll to the right side…Goodman hooked up for a nine-yard gain on Notre Dame's penultimate drive; there were two-three more yards there had the receiver toughed it out after the catch.

Final Thoughts: I like the two-man rotation, but Goodman has to occasionally use his straight line speed for something other than a 9-yard out route. I'd like to see Jones on a tunnel or bubble screen as well.

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