SOUTH BEND — There is no NCAA-mandated 20-hour rule this week for the Notre Dame football team to follow, and quarterback Dayne Crist is taking it to heart.
And then some.
The Irish junior has been piling up the overtime with ND's second wave of receivers, trying to microwave timing, chemistry and similar interpretations of coach Brian Kelly's offensive playbook.
Notre Dame (4-3) will have two starting members of its receiving corps, and as many as three, out for Saturday's matchup with Navy (4-2) at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
"The biggest adjustments for those guys is not on the field, but off the field," Crist said of the fill-ins. "We've spent every day after practice, as a group, watching film together and talking through each play — literally making sure we're on the same page. Then we made adjustments when we didn't see eye to eye."
The overtime was purely Crist's idea. Kelly has been keeping the hours down to a usual week's practice schedule, but he's shifted the practices to earlier in the day to help ND adjust to Saturday's unusually early noon kickoff.
Notre Dame is on fall break this week, so that means no classes and, consequently, no NCAA limit of 20 hours spent on football.
"I think they appreciate having time to go back and relax a little bit," Kelly said, "so the energy has been good, the focus has been good, each and every practice."
Junior Michael Floyd, the only one of the wounded Irish receivers who has a chance to play Saturday, hasn't practiced this week other than some light running and mental reps.
"Just making sure that he's alert and knows everything we're doing within our game plan," Kelly said of ND's leading receiver, still nursing a hamstring injury.
Floyd will be a game-time decision. Third-leading receiver, tight end Kyle Rudolph, is done for 2009, having had season-ending surgery on his hamstring on Friday. Second-leading receiver Theo Riddick will miss his New Jersey homecoming Saturday and possibly more games with a severe ankle sprain.
That means a starting configuration of senior Duval Kamara (1 rec., 12 yards), freshman TJ Jones (12 for 203 and 2 TDs), junior John Goodman (10 for 93) and sophomore tight end Tyler Eifert (5 for 89, 1 TD) if Floyd (44 for 624, 6 TDs) is shelved.
"I'm feeling right now I'm going to play," Floyd said after practice Wednesday. "I don't know how much, but we'll see."
Floyd suffered the injury late last week in practice, then went out and had his best statistical game of the season, with nine catches for 157 yards and three TDs Saturday against Western Michigan.
"It hurt a lot," he said of the grade 1 hamstring pull, "but we got the victory and I didn't mess up too much with my legs, so I'm good. It feels a lot better this week."
Floyd has been more coach than receiver this week in practice, a trend that figures to continue for the rest of the week. Crist is doing his share of coaching, too.
"I've got a ton of confidence in the next guy in if (the starters) are not able to go," Crist said. "The chemistry we've developed over the summer really has helped on being able to work those guys in and really not miss too much of a beat."
More personnel matters
- Riddick's absence also creates a vacancy on kickoff returns. Kelly said freshmen Bennett
Jackson and Austin Collinsworth along with junior Jonas Gray have comprised the rotation at that spot this week.
"Right now it's like the Gong Show," Kelly said. "Only two can get on the field, so somebody's going to get gonged."
Jackson is averaging a team-best 23.9 yards on nine kickoff returns. Gray has one for 16. Collinsworth hasn't returned any.
- Kelly reported senior running back Armando Allen (hip flexor) has looked like his old self in practice this week. ND's leading rusher played very briefly Saturday against Western Michigan and had zero yards on three carries.
Notre Dame announced its 2011 and 2012 schedules on Wednesday, and the first thing that jumps out is that neither year adheres to the 7-4-1 scheduling template former athletic director Kevin White had put into place.
Both seasons feature six home games, five true road games and an off-site game (Maryland at Washington, D.C. in 2011; Miami at Chicago in 2012) that is treated as an Irish home game from a television and revenue standpoint.
The Navy road game in 2012 will be at a neutral site per usual, but this one will be at Dublin, Ireland.
2011 (HOME GAMES IN CAPS)
Sept. 3 SOUTH FLORIDA
Sept. 10 at Michigan
Sept. 17 MICHIGAN STATE
Sept. 24 at Pitt
Oct. 1 at Purdue
Oct. 8 AIR FORCE
Oct. 22 USC
Oct. 29 NAVY
Nov. 5 at Wake Forest
Nov. 12 MARYLAND (At FedEx Field, Washington, D.C.)
Nov. 19 BOSTON COLLEGE
Nov. 26 at Stanford
2012 (HOME GAMES IN CAPS)
Sept. 1 Navy (At Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 8 PURDUE
Sept. 15 at Michigan State
Sept. 22 MICHIGAN
Oct. 6 MIAMI (At Soldier Field, Chicago)
Oct. 13 STANFORD
Oct. 20 BYU
Oct. 27 at Oklahoma
Nov. 3 PITT
Nov. 10 at Boston College
Nov. 17 WAKE FOREST
Nov. 24 at USC
- According to CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, North Carolina verbal commitment Everett Golson has reopened his recruiting and is looking at Notre Dame, among others.
Golson is a 6-foot, 170-pound quarterback from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and is a four-star prospect by Lemming's standards.
He committed to the troubled Tar Heel program in February, before the NCAA started to get heavily involved with player suspensions and ineligibilities.
Among the schools that have offered a scholarship to Golson are Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, South Carolina and Tennessee.
- Irish sophomore linebacker Manti Te'o was named to SI.com's Midseason All-America second-team defense.