Michael Floyd had some adjusting to do to Brian Kelly's offense.
After a slow start for the first six games, in which he surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark only once, Floyd showed the nation once again his true colors after a 157-yard, three-touchdown day on Saturday vs. Western Michigan. On just the first play from scrimmage, Dayne Crist connected with Floyd for an 80-yard pass which set the Irish up for a victory just ten seconds into the game.
Although he hadn't shown it during the first half of Notre Dame's 2010 schedule, Floyd is one of the best receivers in the nation. With a 6''3, 220-pound frame, and ball skills that may be second to none in the nation, it was only a matter of time until Floyd built chemistry not only with his new quarterback in Crist, but also with the new spread offense of Brian Kelly.
The first two years of Floyd's Notre Dame career had two downfalls: injuries and Golden Tate. If it weren't for these two, a Biletnikoff award may have already been sitting in his dorm room by the time 2010 rolled around.
But now a junior and a senior year in South Bend still up in the air—this is the year for Floyd to shine.
Now that he is comfortable in the offense, with his quarterback and hitting the easiest portion of Notre Dame's tough schedule (ranked the 12th-toughest schedule in the nation), the numbers will only keep piling.
Without the big names manning the top of the nation's receiving stats, Floyd still has a chance at being the nation's best regardless of a slow start. If he can continue to dominate the competition, especially against the likes of Navy, Tulsa, and Army, he may just follow in Tate's footsteps by bringing home the award to South Bend for the second year in a row.
Another positive for Floyd (which is a huge negative for his team) is the season-ending injury of Kyle Rudolph. The nation's best tight end, Rudolph had been Crist's favorite receiver before a hamstring injury that will require six months of rehab.
Names like Justin Blackmon, Greg Salas, and Ryan Broyles look to be the front-runners for the award thus far. With padded stats and loads of touchdowns to each of their names, and with Broyles being on what may be the nation's top team, Floyd will need to show he is more deserving than each of these great receivers.
As of now, the award goes to Blackmon at the mid-way point. His Oklahoma State team is opening more eyes than a blonde on the beach and his numbers may even be a bigger attraction.
However, Floyd's opportunity is still there. This time, however, there is no Golden Tate or injury to keep from getting the Bilketnikoff.
The only thing that will hold Floyd back now is himself.