Barry Jackson

UM expects two of its stars to be healthy for Duke; UM notes

Head coach Mark Richt during University of Mami spring training practice on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
Head coach Mark Richt during University of Mami spring training practice on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of UM notes on a Tuesday:

• UM coach Mark Richt said receiver Ahmmon Richards and running back Mark Walton will play Friday at Duke barring a setback.

Richards has missed the first two games with a hamstring injury. Walton left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury but returned. He didn’t practice Tuesday but could have, Richt said.

Defensive end Demetrius Jackson, injured in practice last week, should be fine for Friday.

• UM still has concerns about No. 2 tight end, a job that Michael Irvin Jr. has for now.

“Irvin is getting better,” Richt said. “Still has a ways to go. Part of why he’s playing is Chris Herndon can’t play every down. Whether he’s mature or not, he’s probably going to get in the game. He has gotten better. He still has a ways to go. I see more juice in the games than in practice.

“He does need to get more physical in the running game. [On Saturday on] two bootleg passes, it was his job to pin and didn’t do it as well as he could. [But] he’s light years ahead of where he was.”

By the way, Brown said former defensive end Scott Patchan has done well in his transition to tight end but was non-committal about whether he would play in a game this year.

“Patchan and Brian Polendey are battling for No. 3,” Richt said. “I don’t know who would go in the game third.”

Hurricanes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards speaks to the media about the quarterbacks and this weekend's scrimmage after​ practice at the University of Miami football camp at Greentree Field on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017.

• Troubling: On a short week, Richt was unhappy with Tuesday’s practice. Hopefully, it won’t be a harbinger like it was for the Dolphins last week.

“The offense didn’t come to compete today,” Richt said. “A little upsetting to me.”

• Mike Harley has had the biggest role of the four freshmen receivers, with Evidence Njoku a redshirt candidate. But offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said Harley isn’t ahead of Jeff Thomas and DeeJay Dallas.

Thomas has received a lot of snaps but not as many pass catching opportunites as Harley.

“DeeJay hasn’t had as many opportunities [as those two],” Brown said. “Jeff and Mike have provided some different things for us. You have to earn it in practice. Not to say DeeJay has been bad. DeeJay hasn’t been bad at all.”

Richt said “Harley earned the right to be” the flanker but “he has to do it every week. He has the type of demeanor and practice habits ot make you think he could do it. It’s very competitive. Most know they will get in there and get a chance to play. Part of that is they know if they don’t block well, they probably won’t play as much.”

• Brown said freshman running back Robert Burns is healthy enough to play after his spring/summer shoulder injury. But he’s fourth on the depth chart behind Mark Walton, Travis Homer and Trayone Gray. Those are the only four backs on scholarship.

• ESPN assigned longtime South Florida sportscaster Dave Lamont and former Texas coach Mac Brown to Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Duke.

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