University of Miami

UM hits game mode, still ‘confident’ that opener will be at Hard Rock

Less than two weeks before the opener, the Hurricanes begin focusing on FAMU, with Hurricanes athletic director Blake James confident game will be played in renovated Hard Rock Stadium.
Less than two weeks before the opener, the Hurricanes begin focusing on FAMU, with Hurricanes athletic director Blake James confident game will be played in renovated Hard Rock Stadium. pportal@miamiherald.com

Less than two weeks before their Sept. 3 season opener against FAMU, the Miami Hurricanes are turning their attention to the Rattlers.

With preseason camp having ended Saturday, UM coach Mark Richt lauded the work ethic of his players and said it’s time to bring FAMU into the picture.

The other positive news: UM athletic director Blake James reiterated Monday morning that he expects Miami’s opener to be played at the newly renovated and recently renamed Hard Rock Stadium — formerly known as Sun Life.

“I am confident that the game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium,’’ James told the Herald by text message.

James said on UM media day Aug. 8 that if need be, he believed “within a two-week window’’ would be the time period to make a decision and inform the public if the opener had to be moved.

As for the Hurricanes, Richt said after Saturday’s practice that he hoped “game-plan mode’’ would “help them get excited.’’

The Canes had Sunday off.

“School is going to start Monday, and they have to start managing more than just football, with their academics and all the things that go along with it,’’ Richt said. “There’s more things [by which] to be distracted, from practice and meetings and things like that, so they just have to learn to focus when it’s time to focus and take care of business outside of football.”

On Monday afternoon, UM said media access for this week has been curtailed to Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, with no access the other days. Starting game week, the Canes will be off every Monday.

“I thought overall it was a very good camp,’’ Richt said. “The guys worked really hard. I thought we got better. The only problem now is we have two more weeks before we play a game, and you can get stale. But we are going to begin to work some scout teams and we’re going to start getting ready for Wednesday’s scrimmage, which will be a practice game against Florida A&M.

“We’ll have offense and defense on the same sideline for the first time. We’ll be substituting for kicking for the first time. We’ll be bench control for the first time. We’ll probably simulate coaches up in the box during the scrimmage, and all of that.’’

Richt said that this past weekend the coaches “were working on finalizing a game plan for Florida A&M. … So by Monday we’ll be ready to present at least bits and pieces of the game plan, as it’s going to happen and as we’re going to call it in a game.’’

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