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FAU's Willie Floyd hopes to continue making strides on offense against WKU


FAU's Willie Floyd hopes to continue making strides on offense against WKU

Great article on Floyd! †Best of luck today–wishbone style ;)

FAU's Willie Floyd hopes to continue making strides on offense against WKU

By Tom D'Angelo Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, 2010


Willie Floyd was all over the field Saturday. Literally.† The Florida Atlantic senior was the tailback in the "I" formation, a flanker and a slot receiver. And for the most unpredictable play of the game, he was a tailback in the wishbone.

"The defense doesn't know how to game plan for you," Floyd said. "Some of the defensive players would look at me and think something special was about to come and it was regular formation, not a special play."

Florida International certainly didn't game plan for the wishbone - the Owls had never run the formation this season - and it showed. With leading rusher Alfred Morris lined up as the fullback and used as a decoy, quarterback Jeff Van Camp pitched to Floyd, who ran untouched for 65 yards and the game-clinching touchdown in FAU's victory over the Panthers.

Now, the Owls (2-5, 1-3 Sun Belt) are planning to expand that wishbone package, starting with Saturday's game at Western Kentucky (1-7, 1-3), to take advantage of their depth at running back and Floyd's versatility. The loser has sole possession of last place in the conference.

"We'll try to keep getting him the ball, try to keep people guessing. … do something new with him every week where people have not seen him before," running back coach Dave Serna said.

Coach Howard Schnellenberger isn't sure we'll see the true wishbone - "That's a one-time play," he said - but said we'll see similar plays out of different formations, perfect for the versatile Floyd.

Floyd, a fifth-year senior, finished with 88 yards Saturday, his career high, and recorded his first career rushing touchdown. He entered the game with 273 career yards after suffering through two season-ending injuries during his first four years at FAU.

"It made my heart smile to see him running down the sidelines after all he's gone through," Morris said.

Floyd tore his ACL in the second game of his sophomore season, returned to play sparingly the next year and then tore his pectoral muscle before the start of the 2009 season before using a red-shirt.

"A lot of things that have happened to him have been things that could have soured another guy and made him quit or turn him into a bad apple," Serna said. "Willie's handled it like you'd want your own son to handle it."

Floyd gained 155 yards as a true freshman in 2006 before being hit by the injuries. Last season was supposed to be his breakout after fully recovering from the ACL tear. He was injured while lifting weights just before the start of camp.

"It hurt to watch football," he said of the season.

Floyd, though, never wavered in his rehab knowing he had the red-shirt remaining. He became an inspiration, again, keeping a positive attitude through a second major injury.

"I never saw him get down," Van Camp said. "I know it was probably a little bit frustrating but you would always see him working hard."

Floyd is determined to take advantage of the final five games of his career. He is becoming more involved in the offensive game plan while continuing to serve as the primary kick returner. He is fourth in the conference with a 20.2 average.

And Serna says Floyd is playing as hard, and as reckless, as he has seen in five seasons.

"It's more so just having fun," Floyd said. "When I was younger I was worried about not making a mistake. I didn't want to mess up, they might take me out.

"Now, I'm at the point where I don't care. I just want to have fun so I just go full speed."

* Sun Belt Champions & New Orleans Bowl Champions-2007
* Motor City Bowl/Little Ceasers Pizza Bowl Champions-2008
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