UM freshman running back Lorenzo Lingard’s four carry, 82-yard debut Saturday — combined with his determination to improve his shortcomings — apparently will earn him more playing time.
Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said Tuesday that Lingard is “going to play more.”
Lingard opened the season fifth on the depth chart at running back — behind Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Trayone Gray and Robert Burns — and didn’t get an offensive snap in the opener against LSU. But his explosive 64-yard run against Savannah State caused everyone to take notice.
“He’s earned more reps,” Brown said. “But the more he knows what to do — he takes coaching really well — the more he plays.”
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Brown suspected no Savannah State player would catch Lingard on his long run.
“Once he gets past the first linebacker level, unless he tripped himself and fell down, there was nobody that was going to be able to run him down,” Coach Mark Richt said. “I’ve seen him run past guys in practice. We have really fast guys on defense, and he’s had a lot of long runs... In spring time he broke out and nobody was close to him. He’s pretty fast.”
Lingard knows he must improve his pass protection and spent considerable time hitting a practice dummy after Tuesday’s practice.
“He’s normally a high energy guy but he has more pep in his step and actually practiced better,” Brown said.
Richt said Lingard is “very mature. He doesn’t go, ‘I’m five star, I should play.’ He knows ‘I’ve got to get better at certain things.’ And he’s working at it to his credit. We’re really proud of that kind of attitude. Not all of our freshmen are that way, but the majority of them are.”
Lingard and receiver Mark Pope are the only Rivals.com five-star recruits on UM’s roster.
“Pope is in the same boat as Lorenzo, got a bunch of ability, really good route runner, smooth guy, good ball skills,” Brown said. “All of our freshmen are very talented…. They can’t be impatient. Everybody and their parents and uncle and aunts and grandmother and grandfather think they should be starting right now, and that’s not how this works. You don’t walk into your job Day One saying I’m going to be the boss and you don’t quit after the first week because you’re not the boss.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Defensive end Demetrius Jackson, who missed Saturday’s game with a knee injury, returned to practice. But receiver Ahmmon Richards — who missed the Savannah State game — again sat out with a bone bruise on his knee and remains “day-to-day,” Richt said.
▪ Richt, whose team plays at Toledo on Saturday (noon, ESPN2), did not answer directly when asked if N’Kosi Perry is the No. 2 quarterback, noting that Perry and Cade Weldon played well against Savannah State…. Richt said Zach Feagles, who has been erratic, will remain the punter ahead of Jack Spicer.
▪ Richt said his offensive tackle is “a work in progress” and that Tyree St. Louis “is handling left tackle maybe a little bit better than Navaughn” Donaldson is handling right tackle.
“Navaughn knows he has to work hard on his technique and his quickness,” Richt said.
Richt also spoke of having freshman D.J. Scaife play some series at tackle, with Venzell Boulware continuing to get a lot of work at guard off the bench…. Guard Hayden Mahoney has graded out the highest of UM’s offensive linemen through two weeks.
▪ On concern raised by Brown: “There are too many guys who when the ball was not coming to them — not just receiver wise, other spots — who were loafing, taking plays off. It’s going to get better, I will promise you that.”
▪ Richt on freshmen tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory: “They’re the right kind of kids. They’re smart, tough, diligent and mature enough to understand how hard it is to play….
“Mallory jumps up and comes up with the ball [Saturday]. Most veteran guys don’t come down with the ball in that case. They’re big-time players. You see those plays and get enamored with those plays. Right now Brevin is ahead of Mallory when it comes to blocking.
“Tight ends have to block in this system, too. Mallory has a tougher job. Brevin is basically playing in one spot. It’s tougher for Mallory right this minute because he’s got almost double the assignments.”
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