After revealing Sunday evening that quarterback Brad Kaaya hurt his shoulder and right offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu injured his ankle in UM’s 20-19 loss to Florida State, Miami coach Mark Richt said during his weekly radio show that the 6-8, 325-pound Nigerian tackle is “out indefinitely.”
Richt also said what many UM followers guessed all along: Kaaya was injured on UM’s first offensive play of the game, when 6-4, 229-pound FSU linebacker Jacob Pugh came blitzing from the outside and slammed Miami’s quarterback to the ground.
Richt called it a “missed assignment” Monday on WQAM, and said it was “unacceptable.”
“It wasn’t like somebody got whipped physically,” the coach said, noting “it wasn’t even the tackle position” that messed up his assignment.
More unacceptable news for UM (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which fell from No. 10 to 16 on Monday in the AP poll, as it continues preparation for North Carolina (4-2, 2-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday: In addition to Kaaya and Odogwu, three starters and a talented backup sustained significant injuries against FSU, the Palm Beach Post reported through a source.
Those players are senior wide receiver Stacy Coley, junior defensive end Chad Thomas, freshman middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and backup defensive tackle Gerald Willis.
The Post said that Coley and Willis have knee (MCL) sprains, Quarterman has a shoulder injury (torn labrum), and Thomas broke his hand — and also said through its source that Odogwu fractured his lower leg.
Richt said Sunday that Odogwu had an ankle sprain.
It is unknown which of the players, other than Odogwu, will have to miss the home game Saturday.
Odogwu’s injury, sustained on the first of back-to-back sack plays by FSU in the fourth quarter, looked severe when the Miami Herald reviewed replays from the ABC telecast. Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, a 6-1, 312-pound junior, got past UM center Nick Linder, made the sack, then fell on the back of Odogwu’s lower left leg and ankle —Linder falling with them and Odogwu’s ankle bending unnaturally.
Replacing Odogwu will be 6-5, 305-pound sophomore Tyree St. Louis, who has played a lot this season because Odogwu “has had some knee issues in the past,” Richt said, specifically a torn MCL in his right knee that got surgically repaired in mid-December.
“We were trying to get a little bit of a rotation there all season long to take some of the pressure off Sunny and the wear and tear of the season,” Richt told WQAM.
St. Louis is the player who was called for holding on running back Mark Walton’s extraordinary 45-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The hold, however, had no effect on Walton’s trip to the end zone.
Kaaya, who had a concussion last season in late October, was hit repeatedly Saturday and seemed out of sorts at the postgame news conference, saying he was hit in the head more than once. Richt has not confirmed whether he has gone through concussion protocol, saying Sunday that UM was “not categorizing anything as a concussion.”
Richt told WQAM that Kaaya’s throwing shoulder “get dinged up really on the first play and he was kind of trying to keep it warm the whole day ... I’m not sure when he’ll throw. A lot of rehab, so we’ll see what [Tuesday] brings.”
Coley, Kaaya’s top receiver, was named the ACC Receiver of the Week on Monday after finishing the game Saturday with a team-best seven catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He has 22 catches this season for 291 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively, Thomas would be the second end to play with a club on a broken hand, as Trent Harris broke his hand in late August.
Quarterman is UM’s third-leading tackler with 24 total, including 15 solo and 4.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Willis has five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
▪ The Hurricanes not only dropped six spots in the AP poll, they dropped seven spots in the Amway Coaches’ poll, landing at No. 17.
FSU rose nine spots to No. 14 in the AP and 16 among the coaches.