The No. 17 Miami Hurricanes haven’t practiced since Sept. 5 and as of Wednesday had not announced a timetable for a return to Greentree Field.
The No. 11 Florida State Seminoles, who meet UM on Oct. 7 in Tallahassee after Hurricane Irma forced the rescheduling of what would have been this Saturday’s prime-time clash, began practicing again on Tuesday for their Sept. 23 noon home game against North Carolina State.
“Time to get back to normality,’’ FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday during the ACC coaches’ teleconference.
For Miami, which will have gone two stagnant weekends before playing Toledo at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Hard Rock Stadium, normality at this point is nonexistent. While FSU (0-1), like UM (1-0), is off from school this week, the Seminoles are practicing on campus. UM’s campus is off limits to everyone.
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“Campus leadership and emergency crews are still in the process of assessing the damages to the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus caused by Hurricane Irma, which will ultimately determine when it is safe for students, faculty and staff to return,” UM athletic director Blake James said in a released statement Wednesday, when football coach Mark Richt did not join the league teleconference for the second week in a row. “Since the beginning of this situation, the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has been our top priority, and it will continue to be our top priority.
“I am in daily communication with campus leadership. Once they have determined it is safe for everybody to return, we will set the practice schedules for all of our sports and communicate those schedules accordingly. Thank you to all parties involved for their patience and understanding during this challenging period after the storm.”
Fisher, a former offensive coordinator at LSU, went through Hurricane Katrina, when the first two home games of the 2005 season had to be rearranged. Hurricane Irma forced the Seminoles to cancel last weekend’s game against Louisiana-Monroe, and Miami to cancel its game at Arkansas State.
Fisher was asked how tough he envisioned this period being for the Hurricanes, not being allowed to return to campus and not having practiced.
“There are two things that happen with that in my opinion,’’ Fisher said, citing lack of practice and lack of playing over “such a long period of time’’ affecting “just getting back in the groove — getting your mind and body back into the shape of taking hits... and the everyday grind.
“But 2. Sometimes it can bond you and pull you together like it did at LSU that year with us. I think it brought our team very much tighter together and they understood that we have to face a lot of adversity, and sometimes that’s also really good.
“You’ve got a great coach in Mark Richt. The guy has been through a lot. I’m sure he’ll understand and he’ll have a great plan for that. But I think as a team sometimes that can rally them together, but at the same time the physical parts of it of not being able to do it becomes very tough and it’s very challenging, there’s no doubt.”
Fisher acknowledged that the extra practice time for true freshman quarterback James Blackman, about to take over for the sidelined Deondre Francois, would be beneficial.
“You can treat it just like camp and do a lot of the same drills and isolate things that way,’’ Fisher said. “As far as that goes, it definitely is.”