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Riddick enjoys being back at running back

Theo Riddick is back where he started at Notre Dame.

The junior converted to slot receiver from running back last season, but he is now in the backfield again as a running back as the Irish (8-4) prepare to play No. 25 Florida State (8-4) in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando, Fla.

The return to running back began in the season finale against Stanford because Notre Dame lost senior Jonas Gray to a knee injury in the second to last game this year.

Riddick, who ran 160 yards on 29 carries as a freshman, gained six yards on four carries against the Cardinal, but he has settled into his role as the Irish go through bowl practices.

"Probably the first day, I was a little bit uncomfortable, just trying to get my feet wet again," Riddick said. "But after that, I've been very comfortable."

Riddick said he has leaned on classmate Cierre Wood, who leads the Irish running game with 1,042 yards, to figure out his role in the spread offense.

Riddick said the biggest adjustment has been in protection.

"Picking up the blitzes, that's the major thing in the spread offense, just knowing the details for each play that's the major concern right now," Riddick said. "I'm more concerned as a wide receiver with the D-backs, not too much the linebackers and dealing with all the stunts and those type of blitzes. That's one area I'm concentrating on."

What Riddick isn't concentrating on is where his future in the offense is past the bowl game. Coach Brian Kelly said there is a possibility that Riddick could stay at running back next season or he could return to his receiver position.

"Whatever I can do to help this team, I'm going to do it. Regardless of what I want to do, it's what this team needs," Riddick said. "Coach Kelly said I'm playing running back for the bowl game. So, you can write me down as a running back until the game is over."

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