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Floyd returns for battle against Navy

Michael Bryan | Friday, November 6, 2009

The doctors said he was healed. Irish coach Charlie Weis gave the go-ahead for star sophomore receiver Michael Floyd to play against Navy. Floyd felt confident and ready to go.

But there was still one more person whose approval Floyd sought before returning to the field.

“[Coach Weis] gave his vote, and I gave my vote too,” Floyd said. “And then he asked me to ask my mom if it was OK, and she went down the line asking me all the questions if I was 100 percent and ready to go.”

After Floyd assured her he was indeed healed from his broken clavicle, the wide receiver was given the green light to play Saturday against the Midshipmen. Weis, Floyd and a certain quarterback were all thrilled at the prospects of the wideout’s return.

“It wasn’t too much longer when I was already getting texts from number seven,” Weis said, referencing quarterback Jimmy Clausen. “As happy as number three was, I think number seven might have been just as happy.”

Floyd had dominated the first two and half games he had played in this season before breaking his clavicle in the second quarter against Michigan State.

In the season opener against Nevada, Floyd was tackled only once and ran wild for 189 yards and three touchdowns on four receptions.

In Ann Arbor Floyd’s success continued, bringing in seven receptions for 131 yards and a score in the close Notre Dame loss to Michigan.

Floyd’s return should give opposing defenses nightmares as they try to defend against two of the best wide receivers in the nation as well as an elite tight end.

“I’m very happy to be able to go into those meetings yesterday and say, ‘OK, we’ve got Floyd back, what do we want to do?'” Weis said. “Your game-planning on Monday becomes a whole different element when you’re adding a top-flight player like Michael to the mix.”

With Floyd out, junior receiver Golden Tate picked up the slack despite being the focus of numerous double-teams by opposing defenses. During the time of Floyd’s absence, Tate piled up 743 yards receiving and 147 rushing and nine total scores.

“It will certainly take a lot of pressure off of Golden,” said Weis. “Not only will take pressure off of Jimmy, it will take it off of Kyle, it will take it off of Golden. Having a guy like that back there, that balances off your offense.”

Floyd said he agreed his return would help open up opposing defenses for Tate.

“I love Golden, he makes spectacular plays. It just takes stress off of him. I think he’s probably just going to keep doing his own thing, making big plays,” Floyd said. “I think we get a little leeway off of each other. Both it’s one on one or double-team and the other guy is free. We’re both excited and when they try to double-team us, it leaves inside wide receivers open.”

Weis said that while Floyd is completely healed, he will not receive a full workload against Navy.

“We have a plan for what we’re going to do with Michael. He won’t play every play,” Weis said. “The biggest thing that he’s going have to have happen is get tackled once. He’ll get hit in practice some, but I doubt that we’re going to try it out in practice and see how that shoulder feels getting tackled.”

Even if it isn’t for every down, the Irish are excited to have one of the best players in the nation back.

“It’s great to have one of the best receivers in the nation back to help you out,” Tate said. “I’m excited for him, I’m excited to have him back, and I know he’s been waiting patiently to get back on the field. I’m expecting him to make plays.”