A six pack of New Year’s Day UM notes:
▪ Coach Mark Richt issued a formal apology on Monday for his emotional outburst during the second quarter of Saturday’s Orange Bowl.
Angry about blatant holding penalties by Wisconsin that weren’t called (including an egregious one against Trent Harris), Richt was penalized for an uncharacteristic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he ranted and grabbed head linesman Gus Morris by the arm while complaining.
“After seeing TV copy of our game I want to apologize for my language and the putting of my hands on the official and my staff,” Richt tweeted Monday morning. “I did not show the proper respect to the authorities of our game.”
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Referee Matt Loeffler said after the game that Richt grabbing the arm of Morris “was not a factor whatsoever’’ in the penalty. “When he came out onto the field to argue the call, and with our new interpretation with the rules the way we handle coaches now when they come out to argue a call, then it’s pretty much an immediate flag.”
Richt’s son, UM quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, tweeted: “Y’all think @MarkRicht was mad then ... you should have seen him when I failed Latin back in middle school. #FierceCompetitor #LastingImpression”
▪ Defensive tackle Ryan Fines left the program at UM, opening another scholarship.
“Ryan and I talked, and he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school,” Richt said. “Ryan has been a great representative of our program. We appreciate all the hard work he has put in and we wish him all the best in his future plans.”
“I would like to thank Coach Richt, the coaching staff and my teammates for all of their support,” Fines said. “I look forward to this new opportunity.”
Fines, a redshirt sophomore from Bradenton, is scheduled to graduate in the spring. He played in two games for the Hurricanes this past season, recording one tackle and one fumble recovery.
Also, Caneinsight’s Peter Ariz reports that linebacker Darrion Owens will be transferring, possibly joining former defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio in Houston. Owens has one season of eligibility left.
▪ Malik Rosier has been subjected to a lot of criticism from fans, and at least one UM player is sick of it.
“Hate some-timing fans,” defensive end Demetrius Jackson tweeted. “Malik is my QB. Simple as that, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have won the games we won or beaten some of the teams we did. Or even gotten to the ACC championship game. Next year go be a ride.”
Here’s where Rosier finished nationally among 125 qualifying quarterbacks: tied for 21st in touchdown passes (26), 29th in yards passing (3120), 73rd in passer rating and 112th in completion percentage (54). He also threw the eighth-most interceptions (14).
▪ How conscientious is UM linebacker Shaq Quarterman? He told me last week that he watched the UM-Clemson tape five times, alone, trying to learn things.
Credit former UM linebacker Jon Beason for texting Quarterman with tips and even instructive video clips after games.
So who was UM’s best linebacker this season?
“From a consistency level, Shaq is the most consistent of all of them,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “Mike Pinckney had a really good year and has the best flair to make a play of all three of them. Zach McCloud, especially in the games against physical running teams, really played well in those games. We really love where they’re at. They all know they have a lot more room to improve and will strive to get better.”
▪ Safety Sheldrick Redwine had a solid season overall but struggled badly Saturday, and I would look for Amari Carter and Derrick Smith to challenge him next season to start opposite Jaquan Johnson. UM is also high on incoming freshman Gurvan Hall.
▪ UM played senior Dee Delaney ahead of Malek Young on Saturday because it felt the taller Delaney would match up better against Wisconsin’s receivers. Delaney had a few good moments but also allowed a touchdown pass.
Beyond quarterback, one of the most interesting competitions next season will be starting cornerback among Young, Michael Jackson (if he returns), Trajan Bandy, Jhavonte Dean (a mild disappointment), incoming Al Blades and Gilbert Frierson and others.
Pat Surtain Jr. or Tyson Campbell immediately would become contenders if either commits to UM; the Hurricanes are among a bunch of schools targeting the two high-end Plantation American Heritage cornerbacks.