Notre Dame might turn to Theo Riddick without Jonas Gray
By Neil Hayes email@example.com November 20, 2011 11:11PM
Updated: December 22, 2011 8:14AM
Freshmen Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III could help fill the void left by Jonas Gray’s season-ending knee injury when No. 22 Notre Dame visits No. 4 Stanford on Saturday. Running back-turned-receiver Theo Riddick also might return to his former position if he recovers from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him the last two weeks.
While the specific nature of Gray’s injury still wasn’t known, coach Brian Kelly all but confirmed that the senior will miss the rest of the season.
“The MRI will probably confirm a significant knee injury,” Kelly said.
Gray, who has averaged 6.9 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns, injured his knee in the third quarter of the Irish’s 16-14 victory over Boston College on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
Gray and Cierre Wood have formed one of the nation’s top running back tandems, but there is little depth behind them. That might necessitate another position switch for Riddick, who had 34 catches for 362 yards and three touchdowns before injuring his hamstring in a victory over Wake Forest on Nov. 5.
“We’re in a one-game season when it comes to Stanford,” Kelly said of the regular-season finale. “We’ll sit down as a staff and see what Theo is able to do physically and then decide whether he can go into a running back position and help us out. We haven’t made that decision, but we’ll certainly consider it.”
A flu bug has sent several players to the infirmary in recent days. Defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt didn’t play against Boston College, but Kelly hopes he’ll be cleared by doctors to practice Monday. Kelly said the training staff was cleaning meeting rooms and the weight room to prevent the bug from spreading.
“We’re actually on full alert because we’ve had so many guys affected at this point,” Kelly said.
Safety and special-teams ace Austin Collinsworth suffered a lateral ankle sprain but is expected to practice this week and play against Stanford.