Catching On

Ever since Michael Floyd stepped foot on Notre Dame's campus, it seems as though everything he has undertaken has come effortlessly to him. So when faced with his hardest challenge, he simply went straightforward and dealt with it throughout the week. It may come as a surprise to most, however, that this challenge wasn't on the football field.

Earlier this fall, the talented freshman wideout was becoming accustomed to daily experiences with college life, in addition to balancing his football routine. So when Michael Floyd was facing four term papers due in the same day, the Cretin-Derham Hall High School standout began to sweat.

"School-wise," Floyd responded when asked what his most difficult obstacle had been thus far. "Just having four papers due in one week, it was really stressful, but I got through it. That was basically one week where I had four papers due on one day, I kind of procrastinated, so I stayed up until like five in the morning or something like that."

According to Floyd, the cornerbacks he has been facing this fall haven't been as forgiving when compared to his Anthropology, Philosophy, Human Diseases and Spanish professors. When asked whether he would rather face four term papers or one of the nation's top cover corners one-on-one, the answer came quite simply to Floyd.

"One of the best corners in the nation," he said without flinching.

This is why when paired up against the Pacific-10 Conference 100-meter champion, Osaisai Wopamo of the Stanford Cardinal, Floyd did not shy away from the confrontation. In the contest, the wide receiver finished with 115 yards on five receptions and a score. For the young talent, it was simply another one of the tests he will face as a freshman.

"It was pretty nice," he said of getting the best of Wopamo. "It's just a challenge for me to know that coming into the game he was the Pac-10 100-meter champion, so I just tried to stay focused and just do what I can do."

An attitude such as this is what has enabled Floyd to contribute early and often on the offensive side of the ball. In terms of receptions and yardage, he is second behind Golden Tate with 27 catches for a total of 426 yards, giving him a solid 15.8 yards per game average, trailing only his sophomore teammate. In addition, the freshman has added four touchdowns on the campaign tying him with Tate.

For Floyd, this early success doesn't necessarily come as a surprise, but he credits his teammates and coaching staff for placing him in a position that would allow him to succeed.

"They put me in a good position to succeed," Floyd said. "I just try to come out there and play each down like it's my last, so I just go out there and play 100-percent."

This relentlessness for perfection is embodied through his work ethic and the goals and demands Floyd sets for himself. Irish fans have been quick to notice that even if a pass has strayed out-of-bounds, Floyd will be there to haul it in.

"Yeah, that's my kind of mindset," he said of catching everything. "I just try to catch every single ball. I try to do everything right, and catching balls is a big thing, and I just try to do it every single time I get the opportunity."

Another aspect many across the nation have noticed about the skill set that Floyd possesses on the field is his knack for going deep and grabbing the go routes. So far this season, Floyd has totaled nine receptions of 20 or more yards, highlighted by his career-long 48-yard touchdown pass against Stanford. Because the go route is simplistic, the freshman feels that it is one that comes, as expected, easily to him.

"The go route is pretty easy," he said. "You just go up and get it. It's pretty fun to run knowing that I've got the height advantage and beating them off the line, so it's pretty nice."

For some freshman athletes, the opportunity of starting in their first year at the program can be an ego-inflating experience that alienates the player from his teammates. Through the first six games of the campaign, Floyd has displayed that he lets his performance speak for itself. This is why he tries to stay humble, recognizing that there is still much to be learned.

"It's pretty nice to play," he said. "I still try and learn every single day, and help everybody on the team. I try not to just get a big head and stay humble and stuff like that. The players have helped me out with that too, and just building relationships with everybody else."

Therefore, although it may look like Floyd is playing like an upperclassman on the field, the freshman is taking advantage of every opportunity that comes his way to improve each day in practice or on Saturdays.

"I feel pretty confident, but there's always room to learn," he said. "You can always learn a lot of things about what to do and stuff like that. There's never a day when you don't learn anything, so I'm just trying to keep my head open, keep my mind open for everybody so I can just get help whenever I can."

As Floyd and the Irish come off of their loss to North Carolina and enter their bye week, yet another challenge stands in front of the freshman receiver and his teammates — winning on the road.

"I think that good teams, they always move on and I think we're a good team," he said. "We'll just move on. We've got Washington next so as long as we're moving on and making sure that it's out of our mind. Last week is over so we'll get them next week."

As his young career has shown, Floyd is not one to back down from any impediment. Fortunately enough for the Irish, the squad faces the Huskies during the week off for fall break. Unfortunately for the cornerbacks facing Floyd next Saturday, however, there won't be any term papers to distract him, either.


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