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Football: Tight end down

Sam Werner | Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just when the Irish thought they were out of the woods medically, the dreaded injury bug struck again.
In sophomore wide receiver Michael Floyd’s first game back after a broken collarbone, sophomore tight end Kyle Rudolph suffered a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out for the rest of the regular season, Irish coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday.
“It’s some muscle — muscles on the shoulder,” Weis said. “I just know that they were fearing a collarbone being broken, and that’s not it. So it’s something that in all likelihood they said that Stanford is a possibility. I say it might be — I’m not the doctor, once again. I think that’s a reach. I think he’ll be able to practice again in December.”
So far this season, Rudolph was second on the team with 33 catches and third with three receiving touchdowns. Junior Mike Ragone, who missed all of last with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), is now listed as the starter at tight end on the Irish depth chart. Ragone has three catches on the season, all in the past two games.
Senior Bobby Burger, who was held out of action against Navy with a neck injury, is listed as Ragone’s backup. Weis said that Burger, a former walk-on, is healthy and ready to play.
As far as other injuries go, Weis said that junior running back Armando Allen and sophomore right guard Trevor Robinson, both of whom missed last week’s game, would start Saturday night in Pittsburgh barring any setbacks in practice.
Weis also said that despite the nasty hit junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen took on Saturday, he definitely did not suffer a concussion.
“He was a sore puppy now,” Weis said. “But no, he didn’t have a cognitive test. He’s the king of the ice bags, as I told you. And he had them all over: Neck, shoulder, toe. He was a one man M.A.S.H. unit.”
Despite constant big picture questions about his career and job security at Notre Dame, Weis refused to talk about anything other than Saturday night’s game against the No. 8 Panthers.
“And maybe I’m trained that way,” Weis said. “But it’s just a complete tunnel vision way of looking at it. I don’t spend any time reflecting. I only worry about doing all I can to beat Pitt.”
He added that he was unconcerned about his public perception.
“People don’t know you, why do I care what they think?” Weis said. “Really? What do I care? If they don’t know you, they’ll have an opinion based off of what? They don’t know.”
Weis did say, though, that he was concerned with how his family was handling the constant questions and scrutiny regarding his future at Notre Dame.
“It’s not a game for us,” he said. “This is our life. It’s not just the wins and losses. It’s everything that goes with it. Positively and negatively. So you do the math on how that’s going.”

uFreshman kicker Nick Tausch was named as a semifinalist for the Groza Award Monday.
The Award is given annually to college football’s top placekicker.
 Prior to the season, Irish junior kicker Brandon Walker was named to the award’s watch list. Walker is currently injured and has not seen action yet this season.