Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Floyd volunteers for punt-return duty

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Michael Floyd was the returner on Air Force's first punt of the game early in the second half of Saturday's game, which made sense on one hand while on the other it didn't.

Floyd could bring a new dimension to what has been an impotent return game for the Irish, and the lopsided score provided an opportunity for Floyd to get some experience. Then again, losing perhaps the best receiver in the nation to an injury on a punt return while leading 42-16 would make any coach ripe for second guessing.

Kelly said there were two good reasons why Floyd was getting some experience as a punt returner. He wants a playmaker back there, and while mostly reliable John Goodman is not a big-play threat, and Floyd asked him for the chance.

"Mike actually came to me and said, 'Coach, I'll do it.  Give me a shot at it,'" Kelly said. "We worked hard and this is the great thing about Mike, he stayed after practice. Here is a guy who is one of the best receivers in the country and spent probably more time than I can remember a guy staying after practice just fielding punts so he can go in there and do it.

"A lot of this has been precipitated by our need to jump start that unit. Mike saw that.  As we talked about it in every special teams meeting, which he's part of, I think he finally said, 'You know what, I can do this, but I've never done it before.'  We were not looking down that road with Mike because he had never done it before, but he's such an exceptional athlete and was committed to doing it, and that's obviously a game changer when it comes to that."

Floyd wisely signalled for a fair catch on his only punt return.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on October 9, 2011 11:22 AM.

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