Maybe Notre Dame will want to install some of the Navy option itself this week. The Irish may have to find other ways for the offense to move the ball without some of their best pass-catching options.
Head coach Brian Kelly said on Tuesday that second-leading receiver Theo Riddick won't play Saturday against the Midshipmen because of a severely sprained ankle. Riddick is in a cast and there's no word on his recovery time, but the team believes he can avoid surgery. Riddick has really come on strong at slot receiver the past few games and has 38 catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
The only Irish player with more catches and yards is Michael Floyd, and he may not go this week either. Floyd had a huge game against Western Michigan last week but played through a hamstring injury that has worsened. Kelly said Floyd would not practice this week and would be a game-time decision for Saturday. Floyd will dress, and Kelly likened his situation to running back Armando Allen's last week. Allen ended up playing but in a very limited role.
The team is already without star tight end Kyle Rudolph, who underwent season-ending hamstring surgery last week.
That means the leading healthy receiver right now is true freshman T.J. Jones, who has 12 catches for 203 yards on the season. He'll take over Riddick's slot job. Senior Duval Kamara will get Floyd's reps in practice this week, while John Goodman and tight ends Tyler Eifert and Mike Ragone may have to play a larger role in the receiving game.
Not having offensive weapons could be crucial against Navy, a team that controls the clock with its option running game. Notre Dame will likely have much fewer snaps offensively and will have to make the most of each opportunity with the ball.