Brian Kelly was ready to kick off his second spring practice at Notre Dame and build on the four-game winning streak that closed out last season, including a Sun Bowl victory over Miami.
His systems are installed, the coaches and players know each other and the Irish were full of promise, especially with star receiver Michael Floyd deciding to return for his final season instead of heading to the NFL draft.
Now the Irish must prepare to play without Floyd — for how long no one is sure — after he was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving over the weekend. He was suspended indefinitely by his coach.
Floyd, who was supposed to be the team captain on offense, has caught more touchdown passes than any player in Notre Dame's storied history. He's hard to replace.
"There's a range of emotions that you have. I think it's a lot like a parent would have, from anger to disappointment to making sure that something like that in his life never happens again," Kelly said Tuesday, the day before spring drills begin.
"I think you go through the gamut of all those things. We want to be able to support Mike, but also understand that this was a serious, serious offense, and so I think all those emotions play in it when you first hear about something like that."
Floyd was driving a white Cadillac at 3:18 a.m. Sunday when he ran a stop sign about a block from the school's main entrance, according to an affidavit from St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor Chris Daniels.
Floyd failed three sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, well above Indiana's legal limit for driving of 0.08 percent, Daniels said.
According to a Hennepin County (Minn.) District Court spokeswoman, Floyd was cited for underage alcohol consumption on May 15, 2009, and later pleaded guilty. He was also cited for underage drinking in Minneapolis on Jan. 8, 2010, not far from his hometown of St. Paul, Minn.
Kelly said Tuesday he wasn't aware of the 2009 incident involving Floyd.
"Let's put it this way, from my perspective, those incidents, if they are brought to my attention, we are going to handle them like any other scenarios," Kelly said. "We are going to get the facts. And I don't know that we processed through any of those."
Kelly also said he didn't know of a timetable for determining Floyd's future.
Notre Dame's Office of Residence Life, a disciplinary arm, will likely have a say on what Floyd's future will be at the school. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 2.
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Floyd holds the school record for touchdown catches (28) and ranks second in school history in catches (171) and third in receiving yards (2,539). He had 79 catches for 1,025 yards and 12 TDs last season. Floyd wasn't listed on the depth chart, roster or returning statistical leaders in the team's spring prospectus handed out Tuesday.
Kelly said the Irish will turn to John Goodman, Daniel Smith and Luke Massa to fill in at wide receiver spot. Returning starters at wideout are T.J. Jones and Theo Riddick, while Robby Toma also has experience.
Kelly said quarterback Dayne Crist, who ruptured a patellar tendon last season and underwent a season-ending surgery for the season straight year, should be able to practice during spring drills but could be limited.
He will challenge Tommy Rees, who took over for Crist and started all four of the season-ending victories. Andrew Hendrix and early enrollee Everett Golson will also get long looks this spring.
Star linebacker Manti Te'o will be limited in the spring after arthroscopic surgery to clean up cartilage in a knee. Nose guard Sean Cwynar, who had surgery on both his back and his foot, will not participate in spring drills.
The Irish have moved two receivers and special team performers, Bennett Jackson and Austin Collinsworth, to the secondary. Early enrollee Brad Carrico has been moved from the defensive line to the offensive line.
Kelly said he's also hired a new head trainer in Rob Hunt from Oklahoma State and juggled some coaching responsibilities. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner has added run game coordinator duties; Kerry Cooks switches from outside linebackers to cornerbacks with defensive coordinator Bob Diaco adding outside linebacker to his duties; and recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin, who worked with defensive backs a year ago, will coach the safeties.
Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne contributed to this report.
- Brian Kelly