University of Miami

Miami-Florida notebook: Turnover chains, touchdown rings and Tate Martell at wideout

The turnover chain is back and better than ever, but the Miami Hurricanes’ touchdown rings might just steal the show in 2019.

Both came out in the first half for Miami in its season opener against the No. 8 Florida Gators on Saturday in Orlando.

Scott Patchan got to debut the third edition of the turnover chain when he recovered a fumble by quarterback Feleipe Franks deep in Hurricanes’ territory with Miami already trailing. The defensive lineman pounced on the loose ball, raced the sideline with the ball raised to his head and plopped down on the bench, where his teammates surrounded him and placed the new chain around his shoulders. The 2019 version: a gold chain with a gem-encrusted “305” charm hanging off it.

The crowd chanted “3-0-5” as the Hurricanes’ offense prepared to take the field, then did the same later in the second quarter when linebacker Shaquille Quarterman recovered another fumble.

The second takeaway led directly into Miami’s chance to unveil its latest creation. Just before halftime, quarterback Jarren Williams hit Brevin Jordan for 25-yard touchdown to put the Hurricanes ahead. The star tight end went to the bench and was presented with a matching set of four-finger rings. He stood on the bench and showed them to the crowd.

On his left hand, a ring reading, “Hurri.” On his left, another reading, “canes.”

Tate Martell gets look at wide receiver

The Tate Martell-at-wide receiver experiment got a bit more real at Camping World Stadium. The quarterback spent parts of pregame warming up at his natural position and parts running routes as a wide receiver.

In the second quarter, he got his first look at his new position — sort of.

Martell, who joined the Hurricanes as a high-profile transfer from the Ohio State Buckeyes in January, lined up in the slot in the second quarter, prompting Florida to quickly call a timeout. Martell didn’t come back out to the field after the break, but Miami made it clear: Martell is an option, in some capacity, as a receiver.

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Miami plays without potential starting cornerback

Miami played shorthanded in the secondary Saturday. Shortly before kickoff in Orlando, the Hurricanes announced DJ Ivey, who was fighting for one of the starting cornerback jobs, was suspended for the first game of the regular season.

Ivey, a former four-star prospect from South Dade on track to potentially make his first career start, was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back played in 11 games in 2018, primarily on special teams, and recorded three tackles.

Diaz said Wednesday he expected everyone to travel to Central Florida for the opener.

With Ivey out, Miami turned to fellow sophomore cornerback Al Blades Jr. to make his first career start opposite junior cornerback Trajan Bandy. The suspension left the Hurricanes with only four scholarship cornerbacks, and led to expanded roles for freshmen Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams, who both made their debuts Saturday.

The Hurricanes also played without safety Bubba Bolden, who has not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA despite being listed on the two-deep depth chart as Gurvan Hall’s backup at one safety spot.

“The University of Miami is working with the NCAA on Bubba Bolden’s behalf to clear his transfer requirements as soon as possible,” a Hurricanes spokesperson said in a statement.

This and that

Vince Wilfork, who was a star defensive tackle for Miami’s 2001 national championship team, served as an honorary captains for the Hurricanes in Orlando. Wide receiver K.J. Osborn, offensive lineman Corey Gaynor, and linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney were Miami’s actual captains for the season opener.

Eight players made their first career starts for the Hurricanes: Williams at quarterback, K.J. Osborn at wide receiver, Zion Nelson at left tackle, John Campbell Jr. at right tackle, Scott Patchan at defensive end, Jonathan Ford at defensive tackle Jonathan Ford, Al Blades Jr. at cornerback and Gurvan Hall Jr. at safety.

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