SOUTH BEND, Ind. During his football career at Notre Dame, John Goodman has played various roles. Hes returned punts, caught passes and even thrown a touchdown pass as a quarterback.
With receiver DaVaris Daniels out with a broken clavicle, Goodman is stepping into a larger role for the third-ranked Irish. He could see more playing time in Notre Dames final two regular-season games, including Saturdays home finale against Wake Forest.
After battling his own injuries, including a sore groin hurt in camp and a stress fracture in his back that flared up six weeks ago, Goodman said hes feeling healthy. The timing is ideal for the fifth-year senior from Fort Wayne, Ind.
A guy got hurt, so I just look at it as stepping in, Goodman said. Its senior night and I expected to come in and play a few minutes on senior night, but regardless of the opportunities I get, Im going to take advantage of them. Thats been my mindset since Ive been here.
Goodman has had limited playing time in his career. He caught six passes in 2009, 15 in 2010 and seven last season, when he was also a punt returner. In 2010, he threw a 32-yard touchdown pass on a trinket play. As a fifth-year senior, he has caught four passes for 77 yards and scored a career-best two touchdowns one last week against Boston College and a one-handed grab against Michigan State.
Injuries have limited Goodmans opportunities. His sore back flared up in the game against Miami.
My body hasnt held up too well, he said. Thats unfortunate, but its not the end of the world. I like to be able to back my guys up and not complain about it. If Im injured, Im injured, but whatever I can do to help the team.
Though Goodmans career lacks gaudy statistics, he has been involved in big plays, provided intangibles and been a good teammate, coach Brian Kelly said.
(The) guy is great in the locker room, an upbeat, positive guy, Kelly said. I know that sometimes people are measured, and I know Im measured by wins and losses, but the relationships that he has on this team strengthens that group. I think hell look back and say, Yeah, I would like to have caught more and made more touchdowns and done all those things, but hes going to look back on the relationships and the strength that hes provided as a senior in this football program.
Like any player, Goodman said he had high expectations during his college career. While his playing time could have been greater and his numbers bigger, he has enjoyed being a generous teammate.
When things dont work out you cant get down on yourself, he said. I didnt really get down on myself, just stuck with it, led the younger guys and helped out the team as much as I could. Thats what I care about, the team. When there are guys coming in who have great potential and can make our team better, to make them better and be able to say I played a role in helping them out, thats just as rewarding.