Sunday, September 20, 2009
Notre Dame seeks answers in wake of Floyd injury
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Notre Dame's dynamic duo at wide receiver is down to a Golden one.
Sophomore Michael Floyd is likely out for the regular season after breaking his collarbone in Saturday's win over Michigan State, head coach Charlie Weis said. Floyd was playing as well as any receiver in America, with 13 catches for 358 yards and five touchdowns before the first-half injury.
"You can never really replace a Michael Floyd, a guy who's that caliber of player," Weis said.
The Fighting Irish learned that firsthand last season, when Floyd missed some time with another injury. Defenses loaded up against their other star wideout, Golden Tate, and the offense sputtered along. Weis is determined to not to let that happen this year.
"Last night before I went to sleep, I already had a pretty good idea about how to handle this," he said. "What you have to do is put other people in position to go ahead and pick up some of that responsibility, and having some veterans in there, in that mix, certainly makes it easier."
Weis said he would elaborate later in the week on the specifics of his plan. But his comments about veterans would seem to indicate a larger role for junior Duval Kamara and senior Robby Parris, each of whom saw more time Saturday after Floyd's injury.
The most talented wideout on the roster other than Tate might be true freshman Shaquelle Evans, who has two catches this season.
"You can anticipate seeing him a heck of a lot more," Weis said of Evans.
Notre Dame may also look more to tight end Kyle Rudolph, a terrific pass-catcher at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. Rudolph has 13 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown this season. But Weis said one thing he wouldn't do is line up Rudolph out wide.
"Kyle is best with his hand on the ground," Weis said. "When you're that tall, one of the things is it's a little tougher to get off the line of scrimmage when you're in a two-point stance as opposed to a three-point stance.
"Part of Kyle's production will be based on making sure we've got receivers opposite of Golden, where the defense can't say, 'That's just a guy out there.'"
In other news, Weis said quarterback Jimmy Clausen's injury is either turf toe or an arch problem, and he'll have an MRI Sunday. Weis expects Clausen to play Saturday at Purdue even if he's hobbled, but said he has confidence in backup Dayne Crist if that's not the case.
Weis also said he didn't understand why the play in which Floyd was injured in the end zone was not ruled a touchdown catch. That was one of the plays Notre Dame sent to the Big East office for review. But he declined to complain much about it, unlike last week when he aired his beefs about the officiating in the Michigan loss.
"We're not going to get into Notre Dame being the weekly whiners of officiating," he said.