Barry Jackson

The Hurricanes’ plan at running back and the freshman who came on strong this week

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday:

The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas on Saturday was a harbinger of UM’s plan moving forward.

Impressed by Dallas’ development, coach Mark Richt said Tuesday that their number of rushing attempts will remain comparable.

“I would keep it as equal as I can between those two,” Richt said. “Keep them both fresh. They are both in excellent shape.”

Richt said both are skilled at running, receiving and blocking.

Homer, the starter, is averaging 4.5 yards on 36 carries this season. Dallas has averaged 6.5 yards on 30 carries.

Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said freshmen Lorenzo Lingard and Cam Davis also warrant snaps. Lingard has seven carries for 88 yards this season, Davis one for 3.

“Lorenzo is still coming on strong,” Brown said. “Trying to get a package of plays going for him. Cam Davis, got here late, learning the system but he’s been really impressive last couple of days and Robert Burns has been pretty good also.”

UM’s short-yardage offense also has improved, thanks to the addition of a fullback, primarily Trayone Gray.

“We have a fullback again; that’s helpful,” Richt said. “When you get it to third-and-1 and you make it, hallelujah!”

UM is converting 46.5 percent of its third downs into first downs, (20 for 43), which is 34th in the country. Last year, Miami ranked 126th of 130 schools in third down conversions at 28.8 percent.

Meanwhile, UM’s defense is limiting opponents to 16 percent conversions on third down, best in the country.

Richt praised FIU’s team speed on Tuesday and said of Butch Davis: “We all know what a great coach he is, what a great person he is. He did a great job at Miami while he has here. Last season here was 11-1. He probably accumulated the most talent in the history of the school.”

Left tackle Tyree St. Louis said the game would be a “backyard brawl” before being reminded the teams had an actual brawl the last time they met.

“We’re not going to have that again,” St. Louis assured. Richt said he also doesn’t envision another brawl.

Richt, on the state of his team after three games: “I think we are getting better... We are improving fundamentally every week. This last game, 13-, 14-play drive, you don’t get those unless everyone is doing the right thing. [UM had no penalties and] very few missed assignments. Defensively, we had moments good and bad. We have to contain the passer better… We weren’t disciplined enough to keep him in the pocket. We’ve got to get better at that.”

A few notes from offensive line coach Stacey Searels: He said Venzell Boulware is pushing Jahair Jones for the starting left guard job. Boulware played 39 snaps against Toledo while Jones played 37. “We are going to play the best player,” Searels said…

Freshman DJ Scaife got 11 snaps at tackle against Toledo and “played really well. He played well the game before. He can play both left and right tackle. We’re trying to work him in more and more.”…

Searels said right guard Hayden Mahoney “has graded out the highest on the offensive line since summer camp started.”…

He said right tackle Navaughn Donaldson has “done a pretty good job at times. It’s consistency. When he takes the proper set and does it right, he can block anyone. When he has a lapse of focus, we’re going to get hit.”

Quick stuff: Brian Polendey’s season-ending knee injury will be especially meaningful only if Brevin Jordan or Will Mallory is injured. Keep in mind that Polendey had played only 17 snaps all season, per Herald correspondent Daniel Gould. … Five-star freshman receiver Mark Pope hasn’t played very much, and Brown said: “He’s learning how we practice. We got very talented guys in front of him. We’re trying to find ways to get him involved in the game. He’s progressing.”… Richt said he was glad LSU – which beat UM in the opener – rallied to beat Auburn. “If you lose to somebody, you hope they play good rest of the year. We will be cheering for LSU the rest of the year.”

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