New Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made waves yesterday with his candid first impressions of junior wideout Michael Floyd, considered by some to be among the country's very best wide receivers.
Said Kelly, "“I thought Michael Floyd was overhyped. I thought he was, at times, average.”
Asked to explain further, Kelly provided plenty of details.
"He wasn't a precision route runner," Kelly told the media, including Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune . "[Floyd] wasn't asked to be. He was a match-up guy. Bodied people, caught the ball — sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. If you watched him, were evaluating him, you go, ‘OK, he's got a big body, he runs down the field. If they throw it up there, there's a good chance he's going to get it. You never saw him in positions to run the dig or drive, be one-on-one, beat coverage on a quick slant on fourth down and snap his hands. All those things that go to winning football games, I didn't see that. Maybe it's because they had Golden Tate, and he did all that for him. So my evaluation of Mike was based upon the film I had.”
While Floyd's film may not have made a favorable first impression on his head coach, his work ethic throughout spring and summer, on the other hand, certainly has.
"In 20 years, I have not had a player who has worked as hard as Michael Floyd has worked,” Kelly said. “And I mean that. He has out-worked everybody on the offensive side of the ball to the point where he has single-handedly set the bar for where everybody else needs to bring their play.
“When we've gone in the last couple of days, situational live if you will, he's been dominant. Believe me, I'm not easily impressed. ... Michael Floyd can do more. He's capable of doing a lot more. He's shown to me that he can be that guy that is a complete wide receiver.”
Floyd, 6-3, 220 pounds, was one of the nation's most dangerous big play threats under Charlie Weis. Though Floyd only played in seven games last year due to a broken collarbone suffered against Michigan State, when he was on the field, he was virtually unstoppable. Floyd posted 44 receptions for 795 yards (18.1 average) and nine touchdowns. He scored at least one touchdown in six of the seven games in which he played. The one game in which he didn't score a touchdown -- Pittsburgh -- Floyd caught 7 passes for 107 yards.
With quarterback Jimmy Clausen and fellow wideout Golden Tate having left early for the NFL, Kelly's comments could be aimed at lighting a fire under Floyd, who is expected to be the Irish's primary weapon on offense in 2010.