The football world has come full circle for ASU sophomore safety Clint Floyd.
By the time the USC game rolled around last year, the freshman was just getting his bearings as a starting safety in the Pac-10.
Then it happened.
“It was actually a punt I was running down,” Floyd said. “I got clipped in the back, and I landed the wrong way. When I got back home, I was urinating blood. I was shocked.”
Floyd had a slightly lacerated kidney, and the injury put him out for all but the last two games of the 2008 season.
But after struggles in the secondary with blown coverage this year, the door has opened again for Floyd to start —against USC nonetheless.
“Everything is coming back around,” Floyd said.
Floyd’s development as a player was slightly interrupted — his healing process lasted only a month — but it was the climb back up the depth chart that was most strenuous.
“It was frustrating and sad,” Floyd said. “I know I was coming into the starting position getting a lot of playing time. And me getting hurt, it kind of had me down a little bit. But the coaches and players kept my head up and told me it would be all right and kept me motivated.”
ASU coach Dennis Erickson did not name Floyd to be the starter for Saturday’s game, but he has received most of the first-team repetitions in practice this week.
“We will make a decision on whether we will start him or not [by Thursday],” Erickson said. “We made a couple of changes in the secondary, and he is one of them.”
Senior Jarrell Holman has been the starter at free safety for every game so far this season, but Erickson said he likes what he sees out of Floyd.
“Clint is very athletic, kind of like a corner playing safety,” he said. “He helps us in coverage and helps us in things we do in our blitz package.”
Floyd also said he feels confident in his game.
“I have coverage skills,” Floyd said. “I am not afraid to come down and hit. I am basically just being physical, sort of like [senior safety] Ryan McFoy. It’s like having two strong safeties down there, but I can cover. ”
Should Floyd get the start, he said he wants to make sure the safeties don’t give up the critical big plays in the passing game that have played a large role in ASU’s defeats this season.
“All we got to do is be focused,” Floyd said. “If we are focused, everything will go our way. [We need to] watch our line keys, read the quarterback and everything will be good.”
Erickson said sophomore quarterback Samson Szakacsy’s arm strength has improved and that he is receiving more repetitions than in past weeks.
Erickson said junior kicker Thomas Weber, who made a 53-yard field goal in Wednesday’s practice, is getting closer to 100 percent.
“The thing he is having trouble with is getting the timing back on kickoffs,” Erickson said. “He is starting to get that now and getting it down in the end zone. We haven’t had that in a long time. It is nice having him back.”
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.