After a pressure-packed week in Coral Gables on the heels of Miami’s loss at Nebraska, the Hurricanes’ defense substantially elevated its play to stifle previously undefeated Duke and register a morale-boosting victory at Sun Life Stadium.
Now, the offense will have to adjust as those same Canes will be without at least one — and possibly both — of their top right tackles Saturday at Georgia Tech (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) in Atlanta.
Talented freshman Kc McDermott, a 6-6, 305-pounder from Wellington, was carted off the field Saturday in the second quarter with an apparent left-knee injury and will not play Saturday against the Yellow Jackets, UM coach Al Golden said Sunday.
Starting right tackle Taylor Gadbois, a 6-8, 316-pound redshirt sophomore from Dallas, Georgia, left the Duke game with 9:13 remaining with what also was an apparent left-knee injury — a large bag of ice placed on the knee.
During that play, an 11-yard run by tailback Duke Johnson, right guard Danny Isidora rolled onto Gadbois’ left leg.
Golden said he was waiting for an injury update on both players, and would not elaborate.
“That’s all I have right now to be honest with you,” Golden said. “Everybody else is good. We’ll be healthy. We’re just waiting on those two. But it does not look like Kc is going to make it this week, irrespective of whatever the results are here …’’
When Gadbois left the game, Golden moved senior left guard Jon Feliciano to right tackle to take his place. In turn, freshman Nick Linder moved to left guard to replace Feliciano. Golden said Linder “graded out [at] 89 percent, so he did really well when he went in.
“And the irony there is [right guard Danny] Isidora played his best game, so that was great to see, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
“Gadbois played well. Hopefully, he’s not too serious, and then we’ll see where [guard] Alex Gall [back injury] is.’’
Golden said guard Hunter Wells will also be able to play next week.
Wells was suspended for the Duke game because he violated team rules, which two sources told the Miami Herald was the result of failing a drug test.
Georgia Tech is famous for its spread option, which includes the triple option that the Yellow Jackets have nearly perfected over the coaching tenure of Paul Johnson, who came to Tech from Navy in 2008. The Yellow Jackets had this past weekend off, giving them an extra week to prepare for the Canes, who have defeated them the past five years.
How does the UM coaching staff help its players maintain the intensity this week?
“It’s a tournament now,” Golden said, referring to the ACC race. “You have to maintain that. Part of that is the buildup. I don’t need them to be like that [Monday]. I need them to be receptive. We need everybody, starting with me, to check our egos.
“Look at everything, be accountable, don’t gloss anything over. Learn, prepare and as the week gets less physical on Wednesday night and Thursday, and turns more to mental, we need to start to play faster, with more energy.
“There’s no letup for a long time. We’ve got to be mature right now and know that Georgia Tech is an excellent team and obviously undefeated and … we’ve got to get ready to go.”
▪ Golden said injured kicker Matt Goudis (back) mentioned that he will try to kick in practice Monday. The coach described freshman kicker Michael Badgley’s missed extra-point attempt Saturday as “a combination of penetration and a low kick.”
▪ Freshman quarterback Malik Rosier will be used on the scout team this week to attempt to duplicate the play of option quarterback Justin Thomas for the UM defense.