SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Perhaps the best way to get Michael Floyd to share something about himself is to ask him about his fellow Notre Dame freshman, cornerback Robert Blanton.
``He likes to talk and get into wide receivers heads,'' Floyd said Wednesday. ``I don't let it get to me. I still put it down on him every single practice.''
Considering how well Floyd has played so far this season, that's not hard to believe. Midway through the season, he's already tied the school record for TD catches for a freshman with four and last week fell 7 yards shy of becoming the first Irish freshman with three straight 100-yard receiving games.
Floyd, who has started the past five games, is averaging 4.5 catches and 71 yards a game. His 27 catches are one shy of the freshman total of Tim Brown, Notre Dame's last Heisman Trophy winner. Floyd's 426 yards receiving already is better than the 340 yards Brown had as a freshman.
ckly he's adapted to the college game, especially fellow receiver Golden Tate, who struggled as a freshman to learn how to run routes. Tate's even more impressed by Floyd's talent.
``Why did God give this guy so much athletic talent?'' Tate asked.
Even defensive coordinator Corwin Brown, who is notoriously stingy with compliments for players, has been impressed.
``As a freshman, I'd say he's probably further along than a lot of guys I've seen and played with and against. Probably further along than Amani Toomer, who I played with as a freshman,'' Brown said. ``So he's pretty good, I would think. He's done OK.''
Brown, who played with Toomer at Michigan, said he believes Floyd is more athletic and physical than Toomer, now with the New York Giants, was at that age.
Coach Charlie Weis describes Floyd as deceptively fast, comparing him to former Irish receiver Jeff Samardzija. Floyd showed Stanford cornerback Wopamo Osaisai, the Pac-10 100-meter champion, how much speed he had when he caught a 48-yard touchdown catch two weeks ago. Floyd stutter-stepped past Osaisai at the line of scrimmage and Osaisai fell trying to catch up as Floyd caught the ball all alone at the 5-yard line and jogged in for the score.
Floyd's first catch of the season was a 22-yard touchdown, Notre Dame's first score of the season.
y in the third quarter when the Irish were driving. He also fumbled the ball away in the closing seconds Saturday at the 7-yard line in the 29-24 to North Carolina. It appeared that Floyd was trying to lateral the ball, but Floyd said he wasn't.
``It was supposed to go into the end zone but I didn't reach there so I tried to get down as quickly as possible,'' he said. ``I was just trying to get down as quickly as possible.''
Weis drew the play up on the sideline. The fact that Weis drew up a play for Floyd with the game on the line shows how much confidence he has in Floyd.
``He plays a lot closer to a veteran than he does a young guy. I've been very impressed with his mental capabilities and his polish for being a young guy. It's never perfect, but he's far ahead of any expectation I would have had for him mentally,'' Weis said.
Floyd has shown tremendous concentration. He has made several acrobatic catches of balls that were clearly out of bounds.
``I just try to catch every single ball, try to do everything right. Catching the ball is the big thing and I just try to do it every single time I get the opportunity,'' he said.
Floyd said the thing he's working hardest on is run blocking, now that he's unable to push opponents around as he did in high school.
of his success so far.
``He's very humble. But he has he's got quiet confidence. But he's a very humble kid. He's very level-headed. He's a great kid,'' Weis said. ``It's tough not to like this kid. He'll never act like a prima donna, no chip on his shoulder. I've been very impressed.''
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