The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were hit with a pretty big blow when they suspended Cierre Wood for the first two games of the season, taking away their top running back. But if the performance of Theo Riddick in Saturday’s season opener in Dublin, Ireland is any indication, it’s not anything that is going to set them back too badly.
The Irish went in to their tilt against the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday with a combination of Riddick and George Atkinson III at running back. And it’s a pairing that is going to make this Irish offense all the more scary when Wood does return.
Riddick came to Notre Dame as a natural running back, but has been a pretty strong receiver for the program in his time there. The senior had 78 combined receptions in the past two years, as well as a few carries out of the backfield. Saturday saw a return to running back for Riddick.
Combined with Atkinson, Riddick helped the Irish offense to over 200 yards on the ground. Both Riddick and Atkinson recorded a pair of scores, with Riddick finding the endzone on runs of 11 and three yards.
With his size, standing under six feet and 200 pounds, running back would seem like the perfect spot for Riddick, which explains why Brian Kelly chose to gave him a run there for the first real time since he was in high school.
When Cierre Wood does return, the Irish have the potential to have a very deadly trio running out of the backfield. I wouldn’t expect Riddick to see as many carries as he saw against Navy on a regular basis, but he should prove to be a very nice weapon in a hybrid role for Notre Dame this season.