University of Miami

UM, FSU on alert as new storm threatens Tallahassee and huge football game

National Hurricane Center

Here we go again.

The University of Miami and Florida State football programs had to reschedule their huge rivalry game from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 – this Saturday – because of Hurricane Irma.

Now, another tropical depression has formed in the southern Caribbean that could become Hurricane Nate by the weekend and threaten the Florida panhandle – including Tallahassee, site of the nationally televised game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tropical Storm Nate could become Hurricane Nate possibly by Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday morning, and the five-day cone of uncertainty includes Tallahassee.

“We are monitoring the situation and in communication with FSU and the Atlantic Coast Conference office,’’ UM athletic director Blake James said in a text to the Miami Herald.

FSU officials had a similar statement: “We are monitoring the tropical storm and will continue to do so throughout the week,’’ associate athletic director Rob Wilson sent via email to the Herald.

Another tropical depression, the 16th cyclone in a record-breaking season, formed in the southern Caribbean Wednesday morning and could be a weak Category 1 hurricane when it reaches the U.S. coast.

“You really can only control what you control, so we’ll let the administration figure all that out,’’ UM coach Mark Richt said regarding Nate, just minutes after his team exited buses that took them from the Dolphins’ practice bubble in Davie for the second consecutive day. “Coming off the bus was the first I heard of it. I didn’t know anything about it. We’re going to keep practicing and preparing and getting ready to play.”

Richt was already likely irritated that his team had to bus to Davie two days in a row and practice indoors, because the forecast was for lots of rain and lightning, and once lightning strikes, the team has to go inside for at least 30 minutes – and does repeatedly every time the alarm sounds.

“I would have rather practiced in the heat but from what I understand at 9 O’Clock our horn went off and wasn’t full go until 10 O’Clock,’’ Richt said. “We would have had to sit for an hour and they’ve got to go to class, so we wouldn’t have gotten it in.”

Because of Irma, the 13th-ranked Canes (3-0, 1-0 ACC) already had what would have been their second game of the season Sept. 9, at Arkansas State, canceled.

FSU (1-2, 1-1) eventually canceled their game for that date against Louisiana Monroe, which would have been the Seminoles’ home opener.

Because UM at FSU was then changed to Oct. 7, UM had to move its original Thursday-night, Oct. 12 home game against Georgia Tech to Oct. 14.

UM’s campus announced its evacuation on Sept. 6, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sept. 10, and the football team eventually mobilized to Orlando for six practices to prepare for the Sept. 23 Toledo game.

Miami’s leading receiver, senior Braxton Berrios, spoke to the media Wednesday.

“Are you just about done with hurricanes, or what?’’ a reporter lightheartedly asked Berrios.

“Yeah, we’re all well over storms,’’ Berrios said, unaware of Nate.

“You heard about Nate, right?’’ another asked.

“Wait. What?’’ he said. “Are you serious? You’re joking. I thought you were talking about why we were going to the Dolphins’ facility the last two days. Well, that’s news. Thanks, guys. The media is always fun.

“That’s kind of just something else to deal with, I guess. Whatever it is, we’ll take it in stride, like we have this season.’’

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said this about the newest weather situation: “Why not, right? Remember in Apollo 13, when they’re trying to land the ship and the guy comes and says, ‘There’s a hurricane in the landing spot.’ And the guy says, ‘Well, should we even tell them? Can they do anything about it? No.’

“That’s kind of the point we’re at right now. It doesn’t affect anything in our preparation. We’ll go play if they let us play.’’