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Irish Insider: Floyd likely out for regular season

Matt Gamber | Monday, September 21, 2009

Time for Plan B.

With sophomore wide receiver Michael Floyd likely out for the regular season with a broken clavicle, Irish coach Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame offense will need a few playmakers to step up and fill the void, beginning Saturday at Purdue.

Who exactly that will be remains to be seen, but with a plethora of talented receivers waiting in the wings, the Irish expect someone to emerge.

“That’s what I was telling receivers. It’s your time to step up,” quarterback Jimmy Clausen said. “Whoever you are, if you get in there, you got to make plays.”

Clausen’s experience should help ease the pain of Floyd’s absence, as the junior has shown an increased ability to spread the ball to a variety of targets this season. That will be the best way to replace Floyd, Weis said.

“You never can really replace Michael Floyd, that caliber of player. He’s an A-flight player,” Weis said Sunday. “But what you do is put other people in position to pick up some of that responsibility. Having veterans in that mix makes it easier to do that.”

Senior Robby Parris and junior Duval Kamara are big targets who have produced in the past. Both enjoyed their best collegiate seasons during the 2007 season and will likely see a heavy increase in targets in Floyd’s absence.

Kamara briefly held the record for most touchdown receptions in a season before Floyd broke his mark of four with seven in 2008.

Sophomores John Goodman and Deion Walker will also likely work into the rotation on a more consistent basis, though the two have combined for just one catch in their careers, and that came on a Walker reception late in the Nevada game Sept. 5.

But the one name that has popped up the most in the last day or so has been that of freshman Shaquelle Evans. The highly touted California product was on the field during Notre Dame’s final series at Michigan last weekend, and he’ll be out there a whole lot more against the Boilermakers on Saturday, Weis said.

“With Michael’s injury, that moves him up,” Weis said. “You’ll see him on the field much more this week.”

In fact, Evans was set to get increased reps even before Floyd’s injury, Weis said. But changes in Michigan State’s defensive game plan would have made the set of plays involving Evans less effective, so Weis ended up not using him as much, he said.

“Shaq was in a package that, because of the game went, we weren’t going to expose ourselves to the package,” Weis said. “If they’re going to play a certain way, sometimes you have something that you think will just kill them. They didn’t play that way, so that package he was involved in didn’t get much action.”

Even in Floyd’s absence, Clausen should feel confident with the likes of Golden Tate (19 receptions, 301 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Kyle Rudolph (13 receptions, 162 yards, 1 touchdown) still available.

“I felt like I had to make a few more plays than I would have with Michael on the field, but I like the pressure,” Tate said.