University of Miami

UM coach Mark Richt concerned about a lack of depth at wide receiver

University of Miami head coach Mark Richt gestures during spring football game at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
University of Miami head coach Mark Richt gestures during spring football game at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, April 16, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Forget four-receiver sets. The Miami Hurricanes are a couple of injuries away from having a four-receiver roster.

UM has just four healthy wide receivers back from last season — expected starters Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios and backups Malcolm Lewis and Darrell Langham.

Sophomore Lawrence Cager figured to be in the rotation this year until it was announced on Friday that he will miss the 2016 season because of a knee injury.

Coach Mark Richt said this spring that the receiver unit lacks speed overall, a problem he hoped would be addressed by recruiting additions Sam Bruce, Dionte Mullins, Ahmmon Richards and Dayall Harris.

But Bruce could face a suspension — perhaps one or two games — for taking a photo with a gun, and Mullins has yet to enroll amid published reports he will have trouble meeting the school’s academic requirements.

Richt, speaking Saturday at “Paradise Camp” on the Miami campus, said he was “hurt” by Cager’s injury.

“Cager has made so much progress since spring ball,” Richt said. “For that to happen to him was very sad. I wish he could cash in on the all work he has done since January.

“The good news is that he is still very young in his career. And that type of injury [ACL] — people come back from it. There are lonely moments of work and rehab, but Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley came back from an ACL.”

As for the depth issue, Richt said the injury “makes us have less guys who can do it, but we have some guys who are rolling into town. We have more receivers than we had in spring, but to go down one at the position is not real comfortable.”

In other Canes personnel matters:

▪ Richt said running back Mark Walton, who had DUI allegations dropped recently, will be playing Miami’s opener and will not face any more disciplinary actions “barring anything new.”

Richt said Walton “had a great spring. He became a very good pass-protector, route-runner, ball-catcher. He’s an outstanding runner. He finishes well. He’s a very good player. We’ve got other good backs as well, but I’m glad he’s back in good standing.”

▪ As for Mullins and safety Cedrick Wright — two freshmen who signed in February but have yet to enroll — Richt said, in general terms, that “everyone is still in the race, still pursuing to get in.”

Richt, a former Miami quarterback, spent the past 15 years as the coach at the University of Georgia, twice winning the award for SEC Coach of the Year. He has said that returning home to work at his alma mater has been “paradise,” which explains the name of this weekend’s camp for young football players.

Numerous former Canes stars were present to talk to the campers, including Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp, Jeremy Shockey, Antrel Rolle, Duke Johnson and Jon Beason.

Hall of Famer receiver Michael Irvin introduced himself to the campers by saying, “I’m Mike Irvin. That’s all I need to say. Y’all know who I am.”

Bennie Blades, a Miami safety from 1984 to 1988, said “my generation started swagger.”

Former quarterback Gino Torretta, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1992, said that in those days, players could sign with the Canes or get beat by Canes — their choice.

Richt clearly loved the atmosphere on campus this weekend.

“There’s a great buzz,” he said. “There are a bunch of great [high school] players that I can’t name names [because of recruiting rules). And there are a bunch of former greats who came back to help us coach and speak to these guys. These young men are having a great experience.”

  Comments