Notre Dame's best receiver has been sitting on the sidelines the past five weeks in the form of a sophomore sensation derived from the depths of Minnesota.
After going up for a jump ball in the right corner of the endzone against Michigan State, what also seemed to be his sixth touchdown of the year, Floyd hit the ground, grabbed his shoulder, and shook his head, putting a pit in every Irish fan's stomach.
He was diagnosed with a broken collarbone and was orginally expected to miss the remainder of the season.
But doctors seemed to forget that this wasn't any ordinary human being they were diagnosing-this was Michael Floyd, the most talented wide receiver in college football.
Before his devastating injury, he miraculously hauled in five touchdowns, 358 receiving yards to go along with a 27.5 yard per catch average, all coming on only 13 receptions.
Those stats were totaled in a time period of only nine quarters of playing time.
Patrolling the sidelines with an anxious look permanently cemented on his face as he watched Golden Tate make SportsCenter-worthy highlights every Saturday, Floyd has dressed the past three weeks in order to feel like a player again.
Now, with recent good news coming from Monday's MRI on his previously broken collarbone, Floyd is expected to play against Navy this weekend in South Bend.
What does that mean for the Irish?
Charlie Weis' offense goes from great to elite.
Many believe that with the sophomore receiver, Notre Dame would have beaten USC due to Floyd being Notre Dame's top red zone threat, where he is almost unstoppable.
If for not going down during the last quarter at Michigan (he received 15 stitches in his leg after the game), the Irish would have had a great shot at also beating the Wolverines.
Without playing the "what if?" game, let's just say that Floyd is a difference-maker. And a big one at that.
Last season, Floyd went down with a knee injury against Navy and missed the rest of the season. The Irish offense, especially Golden Tate, struggled to live up to it's name.
“I didn’t really realize it until the ‘SC game, how much we really needed him,” Tate said. “It was almost like I could do nothing. Whatever I did, they were there. It was all out of my hands.” said Tate.
However, this year Tate added the title of "wide receiver" to his resume next to "all-around athlete". Without Floyd, he has averaged an incredible 124.6 receiving yards per game and has hauled in six touchdowns.
Throw in his rushing stats and miracles with the ball in his hands, Tate has put his name on some Heisman ballots.
Now that the best receiver on the team returns healthy, the Irish again have the best trio of receivers in the country in Floyd, Tate, and sensational-sophomore, Kyle Rudolph, who has seen decreased production after the loss of No. 3.
With the sophomore from Minnesota patrolling the No. 1 receiver slot, opponent secondaries are in trouble. Who do you double team?
Does it matter?
If opponent's choose to double Floyd, that will leave Tate with single coverage, something he has dominated this season, and take away attention in the middle where Rudolph is most efficient.
Double Tate, and opponent's may have an even bigger problem if Floyd proves to be as healthy as he is thought to be.
Tate has proven he can beat the double coverage, and single coverage on Floyd is a death wish for any opposing defensive back. Not to mention, Rudolph will have made a living in the middle of the field.
Now that Notre Dame has produced a fairly decent rushing attack with a healthy Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, and even Theo Riddick, opponent's now have their hand's full during preparation for one of the best offenses in the country.
Pick your poison Ken Niumatalolo, Dave Wannstedt, Randy Edsall, and Jim Harbaugh.
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