For those concerned about the apparent on-field struggles of graduate transfer Dee Delaney, an All-American cornerback who came to the University of Miami from The Citadel of the NCAA’s lower-division FCS, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt made it clear Sunday evening that he just needs more time.
Delaney, Richt indicated, is doing just fine.
“He’s still learning all the ins and outs of what we do,’’ Richt said. We actually feel like he’s in a good place. He’s not played perfect but everybody in all positions have struggled. He’s just at a position that’s more visible than most. I guess there’s more interest in him because he’s a transfer. We think he’s doing a good job, we believe in him and we’re going to continue to play him.”
The No. 14 Hurricanes (2-0), who defeated Toledo 52-30 Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, head into enemy territory a day earlier than usual this week. Their game against an undefeated Duke team (4-0) at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, opens their Atlantic Coast Conference play and will be telecast by ESPN at 7 p.m. Friday.
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Duke, despite having played two more game than the Hurricanes, are unranked in the polls and opened as a 5 1/2-point underdog to UM.
“I’ve only watched their defensive side of the ball,’’ Richt said of the Blue Devils, ranked second nationally in rushing defense (65.3 yards a game allowed) and 11th in total defense (261.5 yards). “The first thing I noticed is how well they tackle, how hard they play. They’re a really outstanding fundamental tackling team. They do a lot of different things in the secondary and we just gotta be able to get a beat on that. But I’ve not really watched their offense at this point or their special teams. They’re winning. They’re very well coached, we know that. it’ll be at their house and it’ll be a Friday night game and I’m sure that will be great.”
▪ On the injury front, running back Mark Walton, who gained 204 yards Saturday despite injuring his left ankle, is expected “to be able to practice by Tuesday,’’ Richt said. “We’ll let him rest a little bit. We think he’ll be playing this week. I don’t think there’s much doubt about that unless there’s some setback.”
Additionally, defensive end Demetrius Jackson, who was at the game but didn’t play Saturday for an undisclosed reason, will likely play at Duke. “I’m not 100-percent sure,’’ Richt said, “but I think we expect him to play this week.’’
▪ When asked to name some players, other than the obvious ones such as Walton, who impressed him Saturday, Richt named left tackle Kc McDermott, tight end Chris Herndon, multiple receivers who did a “super job” of blocking downfield, “the kicking game’’ and “punt protection’’ units.
▪ Richt said he watched the famous, 2015 UM at Duke game with the eight-lateral ending, but that he watched it in fragmented form.
“I asked our quality control coaches just to give me [video of] every time [UM quarterback] Malik [Rosier] dropped back and threw the ball. There’s more to watching Malik play in that game because it was the game he started. When I was evaluating QBs part of the evaluation was just to see how he played in the game. But I didn’t really watch it like I was watching it on TV or seeing all the drama of it."
So, did he see the finish?
“Oh yeah, I saw that.’’
What did he think?
“I thought it was a miracle.’’