The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 7, 2013

RBs Riddick, Wood give Notre Dame 1-2 punch

(Continued)

Martin was asked in the days leading up to the BCS title game to describe all three backs in rapid-fire style. His responses:

On Riddick, "pound for pound as good a football player as they make."

On Wood, "as explosive a player as they make."

On Atkinson, "really explosive athlete."

Notice any trends there? The Irish love their backs, and Alabama is raving about what they see from them all as well.

"Riddick is probably quicker than the other two," Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart said. "Great one-step quickness, the ability to make you miss, good stiff arm. Didn't think a former receiver would run with that much power, but he does run with power. They're really good backs."

Riddick came to Notre Dame as a running back, then primarily played wide receiver for two years and returned to the backfield this season. He said he never complained, said he never wondered which position better suited him.

Whatever it took to win was fine with him, Riddick said.

"What can I say? I feel like I'm at ease," Riddick said. "Everything slows down tremendously and I think it's just helped me."

Ask anyone on the Notre Dame offensive line how Riddick has handled his return to running back, and they'll say they believe he's hitting his best stride at the perfect time.

That being, title game.

"He's been unbelievable," offensive lineman Zack Martin said. "Especially in the last three or four games of the season, he's been great. To have a guy like that behind you, he's fun to block for."

That probably can be said for Wood and Atkinson as well.

"It's a credit to all three of them that they've stuck with it and prepared hard every week, and some weeks they've gotten more touches, but that's the nature of the beast," said Chuck Martin, the offensive coordinator. "But we're very fortunate to have three very talented kids at that position."



 

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