As a senior in his final year at Notre Dame, David Grimes’ final season could be going better, but it could be worse too. Grimes has been hampered by back spasms throughout the year that limited him to just one catch against Michigan before sitting out against Michigan State.
Charlie Weis referred to Grimes’ availability this week at Washington as ‘doubtful.’ Grimes was dressed for practice yesterday and was running around, but was unable to participate fully.
“It’s just really hurting back spasms. I’ve got to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. This is all new to me. I do a lot of stretching and try to keep loose as much as I can during practice,” said Grimes. “It definitely is frustrating being that it’s my last year and then where we were last year and how well we’re playing this year. It is frustrating, but you always try to keep a positive attitude about it.”
What is most frustrating for Grimes, who stuck around South Bend to rest during the bye week, is the unpredictability of the spasms.
“Some days it’ll feel great and other days not so great,” he said. “I (feel) fine now. Football is a taxing game, especially on the body. It’s pretty much when I’m on the field doing things acrobatic and stuff like that.”
With the veteran of the unit operating at less than full speed, underclassmen Golden Tate and Michael Floyd have stepped up to lead the group on the field. Tate has a team-high 28 receptions, followed by Floyd’s 27 catches and each have four touchdowns.
With Tate and Floyd establishing themselves as top targets, Grimes found a place for himself as the third receiver, catching four balls for 65 yards and a touchdown against Purdue and seven passes for 60 yards against Stanford. But the senior was held to just four catches for 19 yards in the loss at North Carolina. For the season, Grimes has 21 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
If Grimes is unable to go against the Huskies, the Irish will be looking for sophomore Duval Kamara to step up the way that Tate and Floyd have. Kamara struggled with drops early in the season and had just four catches for 45 yards through five games before breaking out against North Carolina with five grabs for 58 yards.
“I can’t really tell you what it was, but just getting that chance to go out and perform against North Carolina just helped me a lot with my confidence,” Kamara said.
“I thought Duval played very well against North Carolina. It was definitely a confidence booster for him personally,” said Grimes. “He played great and this team expects a lot of Duval.”
Kamara’s quarterback has also seen a boost in his confidence.
“He played real, real good against North Carolina,” Jimmy Clausen said. “I think his confidence was a little down early on this season, but as you saw his confidence is back and he’s doing what we expected.”
Grimes’ absence could also give junior Robby Parris another chance to prove what he can do. Parris has played in three games this year, catching five balls for 22 yards.
This week could have been an interesting one for Grimes, who committed to the Irish in 2004 when Tyrone Willingham was still the head coach.
“I decommitted after they fired him,” said Grimes. “Notre Dame didn’t have a coach, but once Coach Weis took the position I committed right back. It was a tough experience, but it’s part of the nature of the business.”