When the head football coach cites lack-of-speed among his receivers as the answer to a question about his young cornerbacks, an imaginary “ding-ding-ding” alarm pierces the air.
“I don’t know if we’re challenging [the cornerbacks] enough at the wideout position with just flat-out speed,’’ University of Miami coach Mark Richt said Saturday after the sixth session of spring football. “We’ve got to get guys that can run, because I don’t see guys that are blistering down the field. I don’t know if they’re getting challenged enough to really see what reality is.
“One day they’re going to get out there in the real game and be like, ‘Whoa! Where did he go?’ ’’
Is the coach sending a message to his receivers?
Is he sending a message to his cornerbacks?
On Saturday at Greentree Field, that’s exactly what Richt did.
Richt was asked if he felt any better about his young cornerbacks who haven’t played a lot. They are Sheldrick Redwine, at this point considered the best of the youngsters, and Terrance Henley, Ryan Mayes, Michael Jackson and walk-on Tyler Murphy.
The coach began with the speed concern, then said the Hurricanes have “got to keep recruiting receivers, get guys that have explosive speed that can really challenge our guys.’’
His three recently signed receivers expected to arrive on campus this summer are U.S. Army All-American Ahmmon Richards of Wellington and Under-Armour All-Americans Sam Bruce of Fort Lauderdale and Dionte Mullins of Gulliver Prep.
“They’ll help us,’’ Richt said. “When they come in we’ll have more speed. But right now I don’t think we have enough to strike the fear in anybody.’’
He said he sees his cornerbacks “sitting on routes because they’re not afraid of anyone running by them. But if they keep in the habit of doing that because we haven’t offensively pushed them off enough, then in a game with a team that has true outside speed it could be a rude awakening.’’
Richt said the Canes do have “big guys’’ like 6-4 redshirt sophomore receiver Darrell Langham and 6-5 sophomore Lawrence Cager, “who may not be blistering fast, but they’re big men and they can catch balls because they can outjump people or outmuscle people. But we need more guys that can just flat-out go at the receiver position.’’
A few minutes later, when told about Richt’s concerns, slot receiver Braxton Berrios said: “That’s obviously something we need to get better on and that’s something we will. Everybody can get faster.’’
▪ Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph said his players have done a good job “flying to the ball’’ and being open to teaching. He said Redwine has shown “playmaking ability’’ and practices “with a sense of urgency.’’
▪ Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad has “really stood out’’ to Richt. “He plays so hard every down,’’ the coach said. “He’s talented. But what adds to his talent level is his effort level. Usually guys that are pass rushers are relentless, meaning they just never stop. They get the most sacks.’’
▪ Sophomore Tyree St. Louis, 6-5 and 305 pounds, has started at right offensive tackle all spring. St. Louis praised new offensive line coach Stacy Searels. “He’s tough, physical’’ and expects the linemen to “know the playbook inside and out and be able to do everything 5,000 miles an hour.’’