Miami coach Mark Richt gave Hurricanes fans reason to be hopeful Monday when he said on his weekly radio show that some of his injured players would return this week.
“We’re definitely going to get some guys back,” Richt said on 560 WQAM.
However, he did not specify too much else, such as who exactly he means and if they’ll play at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame (2-5). UM (4-3, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has so many ailing defensive players that any additions will help.
“We did practice [Sunday],” Richt said, “but it was in shorts in a non-contact situation. But we had just about everybody back and it’s looking like they’re going to be OK.”
On Monday evening, Richt added during Hurricane Hotline that “there were a few guys practicing that ... didn’t play in the game. So, there are two or three that might be able to come back and help us.”
Miami had off Monday, and Richt said he’d have “a better feel” on injury situations Tuesday — not that he’ll share the information, as the coach said last week he does not intend to go into specifics until injury reports are released. And injury reports generally are not released unless the opponent is from the ACC.
The Hurricanes were missing starting defensive ends Chad Thomas and Demetrius Jackson, starting cornerback Sheldrick Redwine and talented tackle Gerald Willis when they lost 37-16 Thursday night at Virginia Tech.
Additionally, they lost starting senior safety Rayshawn Jenkins to what appeared to be a significant lower right-leg injury in the third quarter of UM’s loss.
Notre Dame, 66th nationally in total offense (413.9 yards a game), has an even worse third-down conversion percentage than Miami’s — 112th in the nation at 33.7-percent successful, compared to UM’s 103rd national ranking of 34.9 percent (worst in the ACC). Defensively, UM is 37th in the country stopping teams on third down.
The Irish are tied with six other FBS teams for 94th nationally in sacks allowed (19), while the Hurricanes are tied with three teams for 17th nationally in sacks (22).
Richt was asked Monday if quarterback Brad Kaaya has been affected in his performances and decision-making because he has been hit so much. Kaaya was sacked a career-worst eight times on Thursday night.
“I think there’s always a cumulative effect by that type of thing,” the coach said. “By the end of the last ball game that might have been true, but he’s a tough kid and he understands the position. If you’re a pocket passer you’ve got to stand in there and throw it.
“If you really study people across the country, there are a lot of guys that are having to either move around or cut the ball loose and get hit as they’re throwing.”
▪ The ACC announced Monday that it is using its six-day option to announce the kickoff time for the Pittsburgh at Miami game Nov. 5. The game time will be announced no later than noon Sunday.