University of Miami defensive end Scott Patchan has asked for a new home on the football field.
Patchan, a 6-6, 240-pound redshirt sophomore who has recovered from two reconstructive knee surgeries, asked if he could switch to tight end, UM coach Mark Richt told reporters in his last post-practice availability on Wednesday.
Is that an experiment? Richt was asked.
“Yes and no. He asked to make the move and we said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s see what can happen.’ He sees we’re a little bit light in depth at the tight end position as compared to the defensive end position, and he asked to do that and we thought it would be at least worth the try.”
Richt said he watched Patchan on Wednesday at practice, and “he caught most of them.”
“Certain routes, it’s tougher to catch the ball on a dead run and things of that nature,” Richt said. “Just the little swing passes we do and things like that, he did a really nice job. He wasn’t fighting the ball. I would say he’s got good hands. He’s just got to get used to catching the ball as you’re moving. It’s such a different sensation.”
Richt said Patchan has “a greater chance of playing defense than offense” on Saturday in the season opener against Bethune-Cookman. “He knows more about our defense than he knows about our offense.”
Patchan’s “whole career,” the coach said, “he has been rehabbing some type of an injury. It has been tough for him to develop into the physical man that I think he can become.”
Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski opted to think of Patchan as “a dual threat.” He said Patchan was doing really well on the D-line but that the position group was deep. “It’s just that there are a lot of guys there. We’ve had some injuries and some guys leave at tight end. He’s an athletic and skilled enough guy to help us in a couple different positions. He was a selfless player. He’ll still be a dual threat.
“Trust me, every defensive end has volunteered to help out at tight end. They all say they’ve got hands and they don’t. Scott does.”
Offensive tackle Kc McDermott said he was “happy” about the possible switch. “The thing is, he wants to play football, and you are not going to play football on scout team. He’s an athletic kid that knows what he’s doing.”
▪ When asked if he expected anyone to be suspended for the opener, Richt said, “I know everything that’s going to happen on Saturday.”
But we’re not going to know?
Linebacker Michael Pinckney will miss the first half of Saturday’s game because he was called for targeting in the bowl game.
Richt did mention that receiver Ahmmon Richards, who hasn’t practiced for several days while nursing a pulled hamstring, “is questionable at best” for Saturday.
▪ The team captains, all seniors, for Saturday: left tackle Kc McDermott, receiver Braxton Berrios, defensive end Chad Thomas and kicker Michael Badgley.