Lots of UM football nuggets on a Wednesday:
• UM’s offense entered the FSU game second in the country in points per game (47) before stumbling in the 20-19 loss against the Seminoles.
And that apparently continued into practice this week, Mark Richt said.
After Tuesday’s poor practice, Richt said: “I told the offense, ‘Here’s the script. We’re going to run these plays, and we’re going to run them right. If you don’t, we’ll run them again. If we don’t get them done in time, we’ll run them after practice or early tomorrow. If we have to go to school, we’ll do it at a time when there’s no responsibilities.’
“I just said that everybody in America has to make a decision about whether you’re going to get better or get worse today, whether you survive the day or you thrive today – what’s it going to be? You choose. This game is about players. Coaching matters, but they’re the ones who got to do it, got to want it, got to care enough…I’m trying to make them understand that.”
So was the offense better Wednesday?
“It took a little extra time for the offense to get it right after practice, but better than yesterday, so that’s a good sign,” Richt said. “We just have to make sure we get every assignment right, every technique right, all the effort right on every snap.”
• Richt, on the team’s injury situation: “We got issues there. We cut down a little bit of the team time against each other, the higher tempo. If you’re going to have a guy injured in practice – which you shouldn’t, even in that format, because we do everything ‘thud’ and everyone stays up – there’s a greater chance of something happening in that drill than against the scouts. Yesterday, we cut down eight plays, which is a decent amount, then today, we only cut out four plays. Because we had to work on our third downs and our red zone stuff.”
Gerald Willis (knee) is out Saturday, Richt said.
• Privately, UM didn’t view dismissed Sam Bruce as a huge loss. He’s undersized at 5-8 and didn’t know the playbook well enough, according to a teammate. He was bounced from the team for violations including showing up late to rehab sessions.
Initially, he lied to UM about his leg injury, telling coaches it was sustained on a bike, and not playing basketball. That was foolish to lie, because Richt told me that playing basketball doesn’t violate any of his rules.
“He was not totally forthcoming about how it happened," Bruce’s mother, Tracye Wilkerson, told Canesport’s Matt Shodell. "He was afraid because he knew he was supposed to not do anything outside of football."
Wilkerson told Shodell that what ultimately got Bruce bounced was being late for his own rehab.
"He was warned and was late to therapy," Wilkerson said. "That was it.”
Wilkerson told Shodell: "I found the infractions to be minor, but I'm his mother so I'm going to look at it like that. But this is Sam's shortcomings, coming into the program he knew he had to be careful. It got to the point where it was more than coach Richt and his staff wanted to deal with.
"I love coach Richt, what he's doing for the program, the direction he has it going. I wish them the best in the endeavors to come. Sam just made a series of not good decisions that put him in this situation.”
• Chad Thomas said he believes he will be effective despite playing with a cast on his injured hand.
“During the week it is just for protection and our trainers will put him in the best position to play. But again you play the game of football with your feet first and those are in fine shape,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.
• With Jamal Carter forced, by ACC rule, to sit out the first half of the North Carolina game, because of a targeting penalty against FSU, Sheldrick Redwine said he expects to play more.
“Jamal Carter is a big loss for us in the first half, so I have to step up and fill that role for him,” Redwine said. “I am looking forward to it and Jamal has been teaching me all the ins and outs and showing me everything he sees on a given play. So I am looking forward to Saturday.”
Jaquan Johnson also could play more: “We could use a few more Jaquan Johnson’s, because he can help us in so many ways,” Diaz said. “When we are in the media room we think about how great it would be to play him here or there. We don’t have enough Jaquan’s to go around for all the places he could help the football team. Certainly he will play a big role this weekend, but we have felt since the spring that he was one of our top guys.”
• Diaz, on the challenges posed by North Carolina Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2): “The first thing is getting lined up. There tempo will be as fast as anything we have seen this year. They are a team that executes at a very high level. They have great running backs and receivers and they have tight ends that do an excellent job as both blockers and receivers. And of course they have a talented quarterback who orchestrates the entire offense. So they are very similar to the challenges presented last week, in the fact that they are a very balanced team being able to both run and throw the football. But the biggest challenge that they will present will be the tempo.
“Because the questions our guys will face will be are you walking around when they are set to snap the football, are your eyes not in the right position and can we make plays on the ball downfield? We know they will pass the ball down the field often and it will be a great challenge for our guys going against a couple tall wide outs that can go out and get it.”
• Despite losing to FSU, receiver Braxton Berrios points out: “We are right in the driver seat of the Coastal if we beat North Carolina. If not then we have a long road ahead of us and it will be other team’s jobs to lose it really. If we beat North Carolina then we are in the driver seat and as long as we do not lose we will be in the ACC Championship game.”
For my post with lots of Dolphins nuggets today, please click here.
And here’s my post with some Panthers chatter a day before the season opener.
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