University of Miami coach Al Golden made it clear that he would not reprimand freshman receiver Stacy Coley or call him into his office to discuss two would-be-touchdown drops Friday against Florida Atlantic caused by “first-game jitters.”
“Oh man, that was nerve-racking,” Coley said of his first-quarter drops. “It just happened so fast. The defense spread it open so fast. I’m like, ‘Wow! Where’s everybody at?’ And it was just a world [by] myself.”
Said Golden: “He’ll be fine. He’s just starting his journey. … He got it over with, and let’s move on.”
But Golden admitted Monday, just five days before the 10th-ranked Gators (1-0) face the Hurricanes (1-0) at Sun Life Stadium, that he is concerned with Miami’s passing game as a whole, and not just because talented junior receiver Rashawn Scott injured his shoulder and will be out for at least the UF game.
“I was disappointed,” Golden said, when asked specifically about the timing between quarterback Stephen Morris and junior Phillip Dorsett. “We all were.
“We didn’t throw and catch very well, didn’t convert on third down, which killed us in time of possession. It’s a challenge right now for everybody.”
Starting quarterback Morris (15 of 27 for 160 yards, one touchdown, with an interception) and Ryan Williams (3 of 4 for 40 yards) threw for a combined 58.1 percent accuracy.
“Not where we want to be,” Golden said, though he also said he’s “betting on Stephen Morris in terms of his resiliency and his accountability, not just to his teammates but to himself. He’s going to bounce back and rally the guys around him.”
The coach said he expected 6-4, 192-pound redshirt freshman D’Mauri Jones and sophomore Garrett Kidd to help compensate for the loss of Scott.
Kidd, a walk-on, has one career catch for 2 yards.
Jones played but had no catches.
Eight Canes had at least one catch Friday, with Hurns grabbing a team-high five for 34 yards. Dorsett, who has 1,000 receiving yards in 25 career games, needs 696 more to enter UM’s career top-10 list. But against FAU, Dorsett seemed to struggle, with two catches for 14 yards, and several others intended for him — including the one that was picked off by the Owls.
“We’ve just got to get in synch and keep reppin’ plays,” Dorsett said. “We’ve got to turn it on. I got doubled a lot in the game.
“Some routes got cut off, some routes shouldn’t have been thrown, some I should have done something different. We’ll get those fixed up.”
A young, but potent Gators defense still excelled in its 24-6 victory Saturday against Toledo, despite playing without suspended star cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and starting middle linebacker Antonio Morrison. Both will be back against Miami.
The Gators are expected to use plenty of man coverage.
“You always live for one-on-one matchups,” Dorsett said. “FAU came out and they bracketed me every play. It is what it is. You can’t do anything about that. They’re going to leave me one-on-one — they’re going to leave everyone else one-on-one.
“We’ve got to win the one-on-one battles.”
Dorsett, who had two huge drops last year early against Notre Dame, said he spoke to Coley about his mishaps.
“The best person to hear something like that from is me,” he said. “He’s a great athlete.
“He’s got a lot to learn still, but he’s going to be a good one. He does a lot of things right.”
Coley said he already has moved on to the Gators.
“My first game was a big game for me,” he said. “Nervous a little bit, that’s why I had a few mistakes. Now I know the tempo of the college experience. Now I’m ready.”