After having the permanent “C” stripped from his jersey this spring, Irish senior Michael Floyd will get a chance to serve as a team captain Thursday against Florida State.
Floyd was selected as a captain for the 2011 season along with safety Harrison Smith last winter, but lost that role in March after his third alcohol-related incident with the law. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said since Floyd’s drunken driving arrest, the standout wide receiver has made some significant changes in his life that were worthy of being honored as a gameday captain when he suits up for the final time in an Irish uniform this week.
“He’s exhibited all the things necessary that we asked him to do. He’s gotten his degree from Notre Dame. He’s lived his life the right way. He’s been extraordinary in his preparation and practice,” Kelly said in his final meeting with the press before Thursday’s Champ Sports Bowl.
Floyd will join Smith for the coin toss at midfield before capping off the most productive pass-catching career that Notre Dame has ever seen. The senior owns virtually every career receiving mark in the program’s record book. He has scored 37 touchdowns and racked up 3,645 total receiving yards since his freshman year in 2008.
Kelly said the common sentiment of “win one for the seniors” is a little bit overblown in bowl game situations. Mostly, he expects his team to compete because that is what they are wired to do. A win over Florida State would put a positive spin on the Irish season heading into the eight-month hibernation, but Kelly said the extra time he has spent with his players during the past month is much more valuable than a win or loss.
“These bowl games give you an opportunity to spend time with the guys — to sit down and talk a lot more about, other than football, who they are and what they’re about,” he said.
“They’re getting to know our coaches more and more every day and building those relationships. As you know half the football team was already here when [the coaching staff] got here so that’s a constant building of relationships on a day-to-day basis, and that’s occurring as well as with new guys coming in the program trying to get them to be disciplined in the manner of going into college football.”
Building player-coach bonds, and perhaps even mending fences with some of the upperclassmen who have been at Notre Dame longer than Kelly has, was on the top of the priority list for the head coach this December.
News & Notes
- Kelly said he expects to keep the rest of his coaching staff intact after losing offensive coordinator Charley Molnar to a head coaching job with Massachusetts earlier this month. He has yet to announce Molnar’s replacement, but said that the empty slot would be filled by “guys that have been on Notre Dame’s campus.”
-Florida State will start four freshmen along the offensive line against Notre Dame Thursday night. Kelly said if there is an advantage to be had against the Seminoles youth it will show itself most on third downs.
“When you’re talking about third down situations and recognitions of pressure and things of that nature it could impact it a little bit,” he said. “They’ll be well coached and prepared, whether they’ve seen enough of those things is the question.”
- In a game when both teams are expected to control the defensive side of the ball, special teams could be a big factor. On Wednesday, Kelly said Florida State is the first team Notre Dame has played this season that has the ability to punish your mistakes with long returns on special teams.
Junior Greg Reid is Florida State’s biggest threat in the return game. He averaged 11.3 yards per return in the regular season and ran one back for a touchdown against Miami.
Already have an account? Sign In