Just when it seemed like everything was rosy for the University of Miami in its Sun Bowl preparation for Washington State, double trouble hit the Hurricanes.
Two Hurricanes were suspended and sent home from El Paso on Tuesday, one for being academically ineligible and the other for violating an undisclosed team rule.
The first suspension announced by UM was for junior safety Jamal Carter, who violated the team rule.
The academic-related suspension was for sophomore defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins. Why Jenkins’ problem wasn’t discovered earlier hasn’t been revealed.
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News also was reported Tuesday regarding the UM coaching staff, with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution saying, through sources, that Georgia running backs coach Thomas Brown will join the Miami coaching staff, possibly as co-offensive coordinator with new head coach Mark Richt.
That might not bode well for current Canes offensive coordinator James Coley, who said last week he would like to work for Richt.
The AJC also reported that UGA director of player personnel Todd Hartley is expected to join Richt at UM as a defensive assistant, and repeated reports that “two other Georgia coaches — Bryan McClendon and John Lilly — have been offered positions on the Hurricanes’ staff.”
McClendon is the Bulldogs’ recruiting coordinator and receivers coach, and Lilly is the offensive special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.
As for the player infractions, both Hurricanes were integral parts of Miami’s defense, which will face the No. 1 passing offense in the nation Saturday in Washington State.
“It’s a violation of team rules,” Miami interim coach Larry Scott said in regard to Carter during a post-practice press conference Tuesday — before the news about Jenkins had been announced. “We’re not going to comment on anything specifically when it comes to that. We made a decision … choose to do right or choose to do wrong. That’s it.
“Obviously, it’s always disappointing to have to send someone home or to suspend someone from a game. It’s disappointing. However, there are always life lessons to be learned. There are standards and there are rules, and we’re going to do what’s right.”
Scott said Carter is “still on the team. He’s just going to go home.”
Carter, 6-1 and 209 pounds, has been working to rehabilitate a hamstring injury. He’s a hard-hitting, hard-playing safety, and his absence will hurt against the Cougars, who have a no-huddle, pass-crazy offense. UM players have said recently that they are working on their conditioning more than ever to keep up with Washington coach Mike Leach’s “Air-Raid” offense, and will need to rotate to keep fresh.
Carter, a Miami Southridge High graduate, played in 12 games this season and had a career-best 48 tackles. He also had an in terception, forced fumble and fumble recovery —that with only one start in 2015.
The Canes still have senior Deon Bush, senior Dallas Crawford and junior Rayshawn Jenkins as veteran safeties. They also have freshman talent Jaquan Johnson out of Miami Killian High.
Jenkins, 6-1 and 311 pounds, is from Jersey City and played at DePaul Catholic. He started seven games this season and played in all 12. He has 29 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble.
The Canes also have 6-3, 315-pound senior nose tackle Calvin Heurtelou, who started 10 games this season, and 6-6, 297-pound senior Ufomba Kamalu, who started four games — two at nose, one at tackle and one at defensive end.
Sophomore tackle Anthony Moten made four starts this season, and freshman tackle Kendrick Norton played in 11 games.
Scott actually revealed a third suspension Tuesday, but that was not a surprise and the player — receiver Tyre Brady — did not travel to the game. Brady has been suspended multiple times this season for violating team rules. He has caught nine passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
▪ Offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu is one of several injured players who traveled to El Paso with the team. Those included running back Gus Edwards and linebacker Raphael Kirby. Odogwu said he tore the MCL of his right knee at Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale.