Slowed, but not stalled — that’s the news Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden revealed Wednesday about his team’s running attack as the Canes prepare for the Sept. 5 season opener against Bethune-Cookman.
Gus Edwards, a 6-2, 240-pound junior nicknamed “Gus the Bus” for his muscular physique and powerful style, was not at practice Tuesday and Wednesday because he bruised the top of his foot during Saturday’s scrimmage, Golden said.
The tests were all negative, the coach said, and Edwards’ status is “day-to-day.’’
Golden did not address the media after Tuesday’s practice, and Edwards had been seen by some with his left foot in a boot on campus Tuesday, his two-day absence leaving UM fans wondering what was wrong or the severity of the injury.
“Just making sure he’s getting the treatment he needs and massages and making sure there is no swelling in there,” Golden said, adding that Edwards was “doing really well” and would be evaluated Thursday and Friday.
“Everyone goes in a boot,” Golden said. “What we’ve learned is the best way to heal them is not to have them out here aggravating it. We put them in the boot, progress the healing and get them 19 treatments a day.
“If he was out I would tell you.”
Edwards, who graduated from Tottenville High in Staten Island, New York, was the Canes’ third-leading rusher last season, gaining 349 yards on 61 carries, a 5.7-yard-per-carry average. He scored six touchdowns and came into fall camp as the No. 1 tailback on the post-spring depth chart.
Also sharing the load during fall camp:
▪ Sophomore Joe Yearby, the returning leading rusher with 509 yards and a touchdown on 86 carries, a 5.9-yard-per-carry average.
▪ Sophomore Trayone Gray, who played in six games and ran only six times for 24 yards and a touchdown last season.
▪ Freshman Mark Walton, a four-star runner out of Miami Booker T. Washington High who rushed for 1,472 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior — and chose UM over Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and South Carolina.
“We’re a lot bigger and more physical than we have been,” Golden said Wednesday. “Gus is 240. [Gray] is 220. Mark’s 198. Joe is about 202. It’s a lot of competition.
“Trayone is one of the most improved guys both in his process and play. Mark, as I said, is unique for his age in terms of being a leader and being tough. And Joe is in great shape and much stronger than he has been.
“It’s a good group.”
The Canes lost their all-time rusher Duke Johnson to the NFL after last season.
In other injury news, linebacker Juwon Young (sprained bottom of foot) and cornerback Ryan Mayes (hamstring), are still nursing their injuries and likely will be out longer than Edwards, Golden said.
Slot receivers Braxton Berrios (hamstring) and Malcolm Lewis (undisclosed), who have both worn red (no contact) and yellow (limited) jerseys for more than a week, were back in normal jerseys and practicing fully Wednesday.
Golden said the players are treating this as a game week and will have a walk-through Thursday and use Friday as a “pregame’’ day. There is no media access until CanesFest from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Greentree Field.
Do the Canes have an idea who has won starting jobs?
“No,” Golden said. “We’ve got a long way to go,” noting that the next couple of days will “mean a lot.”
“For the majority of the positions it’s going to take until next week for sure — at least. Never had that much competition [before]. The O-line, the D-line. We’ve had incumbents a lot. We don’t have that right now, which is great. Guys are just working like crazy and getting better.”