SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame receiver John Goodman looked at the depth chart and knew something had to change.
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound junior was languishing on the bench behind Irish star receiver Michael Floyd, and freshman TJ Jones and sophomore Theo Riddick were gobbling up playing time in front of him.
Being a junior, it was frustrating watching guys that were younger than me get in there, said Goodman, a former Bishop Dwenger standout. But they deserved it. They played really well throughout camp and the first few games. I just kept with it, kept working and that is what it takes.
Goodman said he changed his practice philosophy to gain more playing time.
He stopped settling for easy catches and was determined to make every catch no matter how difficult. He focused more on finishing his blocks and running every play perfectly.
Goodmans dedication in practice paid off last week, when he had five catches for 59 yards in a 37-14 loss to Stanford.
And that could be just the beginning, as Goodmans role might continue to expand when Notre Dame (1-3) travels to play Boston College (2-1) at 8 p.m. Saturday.
There was no debating whether he had the ability to do it, coach Brian Kelly said of Goodman. The question that we had was the mental capability to play at that high a level. He is getting there. He certainly is not there yet.
He has now pushed himself to the point where he is able to get on the field. We expect to see continued improvement there.
Goodman, who didnt play as a freshman, entered this season with 14 catches for 104 yards and one touchdown.
He started the year as Floyds backup but was moved to No. 2 behind Jones at the other receiver spot.
He showed the capacity to make some plays, so he is building on that, receivers coach Tony Alford said of Goodman. He needs to keep working and getting better every day. He has done better. That is why he has gotten more reps.
Goodman was helped by getting a chance to return punts in the Irishs 34-31 overtime loss at Michigan State on Sept. 18. Stepping in for running back Armando Allen, who dislocated a finger, Goodman returned three punts for 27 yards. Goodman and Allen are competing this week for punt return duties against the Eagles.
That Michigan State game really helped me get back in the swing of things, Goodman said. I just feel like it comes really natural. You have the control of whether you get tackles or not. You just wave a hand and they cant tackle you. I just feel really comfortable back there.
Notes: Kelly said running back Jonas Gray is over his hamstring injury but has a strained left knee and is doubtful for Saturday. The Boston Globe reported that freshman Chase Rettig will start against Notre Dame, but coach Frank Spaziani said during the ACC coaches teleconference that he is still evaluating his quarterbacks and hasnt named a starter. Dave Shinskie was pulled from last weeks shutout loss to Virginia Tech. Spaziani said Rettig and Mike Marscovetra will compete for the job.