Monday, September 15, 2008

WWR 2.0

By Nick Shepkowski

A few short years ago the campus of Notre Dame was blessed by the presence of the likes of Maurice Stovall, Jeff Samardzija, and Rhema McKnight, forming WWR (Weis Wide Receivers) 1.0 . My fellow followers of football, under the watch of Touchdown Jesus, a new core of receivers has shown its face on Notre Dame's campus and in my eyes looks to be even better than the aforementioned names. That's right, Duval Kamara, Michael Floyd, and Golden Tate will not only equal what Stovall, Shark and McKnight offered, they will be better.

How scary this young group of wide outs has to be for opposing defenses can't be fun to think about. We saw flashes in the pan of what Kamara can do in a jump ball situation against a cornerback in the endzone, with notable catches against Navy last year and Michigan this past week. Need someone to go to in one-on-one coverage? Kamara is amongst the best in the business in the college today, as a sophomore.
What Jeff Samardzija was able to do in a Notre Dame uniform is unbelievable considering how unknown he was a very short time before bringing on his stardom. Samardzija is the kind of receiver I expect to see Michael Floyd be one day. As a freshman Floyd was shown the awareness and leaping ability you expect to see from a veteran, not a player who has now seen the field in only two career college football games.
Michael Floyd already does many things very well, but has time to get even that much better. Floyd has shown his ability to go up for a jump ball much like Kamara is able to do, but he also shows the ability to run away from defensive backs just like we saw from Samardzija. Already seeing valuable playing time as a freshman, expect Floyd to turn into amongst the best wide outs in the nation before his tenure under the Golden Dome is complete.
The biggest play maker of the youthful group so-far in 2008 has to be none other than Golden Tate. Whether it has been a late fourth quarter drive where the Irish face an obvious passing down while needing a first down, or in a surprise deep fly route, Golden Tate has continued to impress early in 2008.
When Tate came onto the scene against Purdue last season he seemed like he was plenty capable of running a fly route, but what scared me was how he struggled in getting open if he wasn't trying to run right by a defender. It is safe to say that Tate has figured out how to go about doing just that.

Whether it was being a key cog in two fourth quarter drives against San Diego State or the receiver of the third touchdown in the win against Michigan, Tate has turned the corner. Not only has he improved in his ability to run routes, he has become the best route runner on this Notre Dame team. He has caught on very quickly, learning proper separation techniques that are even more key because of his lack of height compared to others.

Notre Dame fans have cried about not having anyone to throw the ball to since the departures of Samardzija and McKnight at the end of 2006. Led by Golden Tate, Duval Kamara, and Michael Floyd it is my true belief the wait is over. WWR 2.0 is currently in development and will be even better than its original in due time.


Chris said...

Right on. What about Grimes?

The Shark said...

Grimes does his job well but its safe to say that his time in an Irish uniform will not turn out the way Floyd, Tate, and Kamara will. You're right though, how many other teams would kill to have a guy like Grimes as really their 4th target the majority of the time?