With the first Miami scrimmage next weekend, Mark Richt’s quarterbacks in the early stages of their battle and All-American receiver Ahmmon Richards on the sideline after hitting his head the previous day, Richt was still grappling with whether to allow his Hurricanes to tackle the quarterbacks in next Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I don't know what I’ll do yet,’’ Richt said Friday after the Hurricanes’ fourth practice of fall camp. “I just gotta figure it out. If I think I need to do it to learn more about all these guys, and their ability to maybe make a play with their feet, or maybe get hit and get back up, we'll probably let them play."
Richt allowed his players to go live in the first spring scrimmage, and former UM quarterback Jack Allison, who later transferred to West Virginia, injured his shoulder. In Miami Dolphins camp Thursday, quarterback Ryan Tannehill injured his knee during live play, though Tannehill wasn’t directly hit.
“Everybody understands football is a physical game,’’ Richt said, when asked how something like that would affect a team. “It’s a game of attrition and things happen. I think if something like this happened the week of the game compared to right now it would be probably more of a thing to manage in everybody’s mind psychologically.’’
This week’s Saturday practice will be the first day the NCAA allows full contact. But the Hurricanes will do a toned-down version.
“We’re not going to tackle to the ground. There may be some type of drill that the defense does,’’ he said, “but against each other we’re going to continue to thud until the first scrimmage.”
Richards, UM’s sophomore receiver who last season broke former Canes star and Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin’s freshman record with 934 receiving yards on 49 catches, hit his head after catching a pass during Thursday’s practice. But he does not have a concussion, Richt said. Richards did not practice Friday for precautionary reasons, and instead rode a conditioning bike on the sideline.
Richt said Richards was tested.
“Obviously all the concussion protocol would be used in this case, but I think we’re already past that. From what I’m being told there’s no concussion.’’
Next to Richards on another bike was All-American linebacker Michael Pinckney, who “is getting over a little bit of a strain of a hamstring,’’ the coach said. Pinckney has been pedaling with only his right leg.
Richt didn’t elaborate on the quarterback situation Friday, but he was asked whether redshirt junior Malik Rosier, who has been throwing first in the rotation during media viewing, is passing with more confidence.
“I don’t know if he’s throwing any differently, as far as the spin on the ball or zip on the ball,’’ Richt said. “He has been making excellent decisions and he’s throwing the ball very accurately, I’ll say that. He has had a very camp to this point.’’
Lawrence Cager, back from a major knee injury sustained before the start of last year’s training camp, said Friday he believes the Canes can’t go wrong with any of the quarterbacks battling for the starting spot. The main contenders are Rosier, redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs and true freshmen Cade Weldon and N’Kosi Perry.
“Like Coach Richt says, ‘It’s a good situation to have when you’ve got guys competing and they’re all good quarterbacks.’’’
▪ Richt said sophomore tight end Michael Irvin II missed practice Friday because of “a little bit of dehydration’’ and “should be back very soon, if not [Saturday].’’
The lack of tight end depth (three on scholarship and one walk-on) will necessitate “a little more ‘10 personnel,’ which is four receivers and no tight ends,’’ Richt said. “We have to practice that.”
▪ Redshirt junior Malik Mayweather, a former walk-on from Olive Branch, Mississippi, was awarded a football scholarship, Richt said. “He has been a tremendous student. He has been a tremendous player. He’s targeted to graduate at the end of December. It’s good news for him and his family.’’