University of Miami

Young Hurricanes to face NC State team that has no freshman or redshirt freshman starters

Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, shown returning a fumble for a touchdown at Georgia Tech in 2016, will be part of a UM defense that tries once again to stop the triple-option offense on Saturday in Atlanta.
Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, shown returning a fumble for a touchdown at Georgia Tech in 2016, will be part of a UM defense that tries once again to stop the triple-option offense on Saturday in Atlanta. AP

The Hurricanes, feeling upbeat with bowl eligibility earned Saturday at Virginia, are about to face a team hoping to do the same this weekend.

UM, off Monday, will continue practicing Tuesday for its 12:30 p.m. Saturday game at North Carolina State. The Wolfpack (5-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), coming off a 35-20 win against Syracuse, needs one victory in its final two regular-season games to qualify for the postseason.

Joe Zagacki, longtime “voice of the Hurricanes’’ for WQAM radio broadcasts, filled in for Joe Rose on Monday morning during the weekly Mark Richt show, and noted to Richt that NC State has no freshmen or redshirt freshmen listed as starters on its depth chart.

On Saturday in Charlottesville, Miami (6-4, 3-3) had four true freshmen starting on defense (linebackers Zach McCloud, Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney, and cornerback Malek Young) and one true freshman receiver (Ahmmon Richards).

“You hope to get to the point where you bring in an offensive lineman and he doesn’t even have to play until his third year, maybe a redshirt sophomore, something like that, redshirt junior even,’’ Richt said. “Across the board you want so much experience and depth that the freshmen, if they do come in and make an impact, they’re like an Ahmmon Richards, they’re like some of these linebackers that we’ve got playing right now, guys that are just superior in talent and bust through your depth chart.

“But when you play a season that is as long as it is… Really if we had one more offensive line injury I don’t know how we would have functioned. So, we’re still too thin at a lot of spots but one day we’ll get to the point where we have enough depth to be able to handle any kind of issues as far as attrition.”

▪  The ACC will wait until after the North Carolina State game to announce a kickoff time for UM’s final regular-season game at home Nov. 26 against Duke.

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