Notre Dame’s Theo Riddick keeps ’em guessing
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media April 11, 2012 8:36PM
Updated: May 13, 2012 10:33AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—This spring, the Notre Dame coaching staff has conducted somewhat of a football experiment with Theo Riddick, one of the team’s most dynamic offensive players.
Entering his senior season, he has seen reps at running back and wide receiver in hopes of finding different ways to get the speedster the ball in space.
The coaches have concluded that Riddick’s highest value lies in keeping opposing defense coordinators guessing where he’ll line up.
“Being able to spread the offense is tremendous,” Riddick said. “To have a person that can be a hybrid and play running back and be as versatile as possible is going to be very helpful in terms of moving the ball and making the defense not only focus on him but other guys and make it more difficult. So with that being said, it’s all working to come together as a scheme.”
Recruited as a running back, Riddick moved between the two positions during his first three seasons with the Irish. Last season, Riddick ranked third on the team, with 38 receptions for 436 yards and three touchdowns but saw only 14 carries for 63 yards.
College football has seen an increase in hybrid players, like Riddick, that have the ability to spread out defenses, which is a point of emphasis for the Irish offense this spring.
Despite having numerous player ahead of him last season on the depth chart, thatwon’t preclude him from a significant number of snaps this year. With the departure wide receiver Michael Floyd to the NFL, Riddick will be counted upon as one of Notre Dame’s top playmakers.
“He fits in everywhere,” wide receiver John Goodman said. “You can put him in at every position. … He’s doing really well at running back and really well at Z [receiver].”
Riddick, though, is keeping the coaching staff’s plans for him secret. He’ll even try to keep his teammates guessing in the Blue-Gold Spring game on April 21.
“Spring game will be the first time you guys get to witness it,” Riddick said. “And I guess we’ll have to find out when the season starts.”