SOUTH BEND — It's certainly not out of the ordinary for a football player to put the success of the team before his individual achievements. Notre Dame receiver John Goodman has been asked to do more than most, and yet again his response is unwavering.
“I'm the type of person that is all about the team,” Goodman said. “Whatever it is, I don't care. If I have to be benched or I play, I don't even care. If this team needs to win with that guy in, then that is what needs to happen.”
As a senior at Bishop Dwenger, Goodman was being evaluated by the best college football programs in the Midwest as a receiver. Saints coach Chris Svarczkopf needed Goodman and his athleticism at quarterback to ensure the highest level of success for the program.
Goodman took snaps all season instead of catching passes.
This fall, Goodman found himself earning playing time, as he appeared in every game for the Fighting Irish (7-5).
Three weeks into the season, he still had not caught a pass. Beginning with the Stanford game in late September, the junior began to hit his stride, and over the course of the next six games he had 14 receptions for 116 yards.
“I feel like I started off pretty strong,” Goodman said. “Then I pretty much slacked there a little bit.”
That “slack” period encompassed the final three games of the season, where Goodman didn't register a catch.
“I kept at it and I didn't want to quit, that's for sure,” Goodman said. “I still haven't quit and I won't quit.”
In Goodman's absence, other receivers (Duval Kamara and Roby Toma most noticeably) saw their production rise.
“Some other players stepped up and are doing really well,” Goodman said. “They went in the game and they played well. But that's good that everybody is doing well. Congratulations to them.”
Team first with this kid.
Goodman finished the season tied with Toma for fifth on the squad in receptions and saw his production this season more than double from six receptions to 14 since his sophomore season. With the lone senior receiver on the current two-deep depth chart being Kamara, touches will be sparse again next season. And that is fine with Goodman.
“I hope that all of the competition keeps up,” Goodman said.
“That's what this team needs to be good in the future.”
Leading the Irish receiving corps is All-American candidate Michael Floyd. The junior is contemplating making himself eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft, which would certainly open up pass-catching opportunities for Goodman.
“Progressively, I've gotten better and better,” Goodman said. “But when you've got Mike Floyd in front of you, there's not too much you can do.”
So having said that, would Goodman like to see Floyd play on Sundays as opposed to Saturdays in 2011?
“I would love to have Mike back (in 2011),” Goodman said. “He's one of my best friends and one of the best receivers in the country. So why not want him back? I'd much rather him be back than me go in and produce less. Which I'm not saying that I would do that. It's definitely (about) the team. If (tight end) Kyle (Rudolph) goes pro or Mike goes pro, then good for them. But I would definitely like for them to stay.”