With a Saturday night showdown against No. 9 Notre Dame on the horizon, UM football coach Al Golden said that Wednesday’s practice did not do much to settle various position battles.
The Hurricanes currently have open competition between Ereck Flowers and Seantrel Henderson at right tackle, Tyrone Cornileus and Gionni Paul at weak-side linebacker, Thomas Finnie and Ladarius Gunter at cornerback, and three reserve defensive line positions.
“All those guys are still competing at this point, and that’ll go right through to tomorrow,” Golden said Wednesday.
He noted on Tuesday that Henderson had a better practice than the freshman Flowers.
• A hot topic of late has been the slumping play of kicker Jake Wieclaw, who after converting his first seven field-goal attempts of the season has missed his last four dating to the fourth quarter at Georgia Tech.
“Jake’s doing good,” Golden said. “I trust Jake. I feel like he’s a great three-point shooter and if he’s missing something, if he’s missing a couple, he’s due. I know he’s due for a big game. I have complete faith in him.”
• On the injury front, middle linebacker Denzel Perryman will return to game action Saturday after missing the previous two games.
“He’s doing good, making progress,” Golden said. “I expect him to be pretty close to 100 [percent].”
Paul filled in well for Perryman against N.C. State, registering a team-high 11 tackles.
• Freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby is expected to make his first game action against Notre Dame, returning from a knee injury suffered in fall camp. Also looking to get into his first game will be defensive tackle Dequan Ivery. With starter Olsen Pierre doubtful for Saturday, Ivery could earn reserve reps.
• Malcolm Lewis is making progress in recovering from the gruesome left-ankle injury that ended his freshman campaign in the fourth week of the season and required surgery. “We hope today he’ll be back on campus and going to class, but he’s doing good,” Golden said. “What a positive kid. He’ll be back.’’