University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes keeping first-team chart top secret

Miami wide receiver Stacy Coley warms up during practice Tuesday at Greentree Field.
Miami wide receiver Stacy Coley warms up during practice Tuesday at Greentree Field. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Three days after the University of Miami’s scrimmage was supposed to provide answers, plenty of questions still remained about who will start where, the progress made in the three quarters played Saturday night — and the whereabouts of running back Gus Edwards, who was not seen at practice Tuesday.

Al Golden did not talk to the media Tuesday like he routinely does, apparently in a meeting, according to a UM spokesman.

One observation that has not been missed by anyone who has been around the program the past few years: First-team players no longer wear a special color each day at practice — previously black jerseys for the top defensive players and orange for the best on offense.

As for that depth chart, which Golden in effect said last week would be formulated as early as Sunday, well…

“They’ve told us there’s no depth chart until the first game, until we step on the field and they say, ‘OK, you’re in for the first drive,’” said junior left guard Alex Gall, one of the five players offensive line coach Art Kehoe revealed on the radio Monday as projected starters — an admission that obviously surprised even radio host Joe Rose, who prefaced the question by hinting that he probably wouldn’t get an answer.

“It might be my first start. That’s the key thing,” said the 6-5, 310-pound Gall, who said he had no idea Kehoe named him. “Nobody knows until we literally step onto the field for the first game who is going to be starting.”

Are coaches trying to instill a don’t-look-at-the-depth-chart attitude?

Gall: “There’s no depth chart. Everybody is rotating and moving around. There’s no first team, second team.”

Some couldn’t even recall when they went in Saturday.

“I don’t know if I started,” said 6-4, 331-pound redshirt freshman backup guard Joe Brown, a friendly fellow (off the field), who has also worked with the first team. “I’m getting a lot more reps than I did. As of right now, we’re still working.

“Everybody’s on the same level, whether you’re a 1, you’re a 2, you’re a 3… Everybody is working hard to get on that bus.”

Tackle Kc McDermott, a 6-6, 315-pound sophomore who was not named Monday by Kehoe as a projected starter, said Tuesday that “nothing is set until the game starts… so we keep fighting, we keep competing against each other.”

Gall acknowledged that coaches used to provide depth chart information in previous seasons. Now, forget it.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “They don’t want us to relax. … Now we’re competing all week.

“That’s why everybody is in the same jersey color now. Now it’s not like, ‘Ok, I’m in an orange jersey. I’m a starter.’ Everybody is in the same color jersey, everybody is on the same team, everybody is working for that one spot.

“A lot of guys that may have thought they were the starter got pushed out of that role because they weren’t working hard and they realize that now.”

Added McDermott: “What we’re doing now is great. As we keep talking about, we’re one big team and that’s all we care about. It doesn’t matter what jersey we have on. I know in the past it could be a little upsetting when you open your locker and you get a white jersey, not an orange jersey. At the same time the coaches put you where you need to be put.

“It’s all about the team. It’s all about winning the [Atlantic Coast Conference] Coastal [Division]. That’s all we care about. I want to play. I want to contribute to this team. I want to help this team win the Coastal.”

And what about starting?

“It’s very important to me,” McDermott said. “But also I understand that coach is going to put the best person out there, and if that’s not me that means I just have to work harder. If I don’t work harder that’s my fault.”

Whoever ends up starting, indicated center Nick Linder, expected to be there for the first snap Sept. 5 against Bethune-Cookman, will probably never forget it.

“Just go out and have fun,” Linder said he’d tell first-time starters. “I remember when I had my first start, the first series was at Georgia Tech and it just blew right by. I remember loving every second of it.”

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