A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday:
▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 national championship team at Saturday’s UM-FIU game at Hard Rock Stadium (3:30 p.m., ESPN2). So it was appropriate that the quarterback and face of that first UM championship team, Bernie Kosar, addressed players last weekend in an impromptu speech at a Toledo hotel.
Richt was in that hotel the night before UM played Toledo when he noticed Kosar and his wife in the lobby. Kosar planned to dine with UM athletic director Blake James, but Richt told WQAM’s Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. that he gave Kosar a “big hug and said, ‘Would you mind saying something to the fellas?’”
What followed was a message that Richt believes should resonate with his players.
“I introduced him as the guy who won the first championship after losing [28-3] in the first game against Florida [before winning out],” Richt said. “It wasn’t rehearsed. First thing he said, ‘Men, it can be intimidating to come to Miami because there are so many great players. [When Kosar was at UM], there’s Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde… I didn’t think I belonged. I thought I should transfer. I thought I should go a smaller school.’
“He said, ‘Hang in there, your day is going to come.’ Our young guys need to hear that. There will be competition. If you don’t run from it, you will become a better player. I appreciated what he had to say.”
Richt cracked that Kosar “didn’t mention me” when listing those quarterbacks who were teammates during Kosar’s time at UM.
Richt also told Zagacki and Bailey that “the other thing Bernie talked about is the closeness of [current and former players] and the bond that there is, and even if you didn’t play together, you played for the U and you’re family for life. That’s one thing stronger here than anywhere.”
▪ Even with Ahmmon Richards still sidelined by a knee injury, UM’s four freshmen receivers aren’t playing an enormous amount because the experienced players (Jeff Thomas, Lawrence Cager, Darrell Langham, Mike Harley) are playing well.
“We have young talented guys that need to get in the game,” Richt said on Hurricane Hotline. “We’re at the point where we have to kick them out of the nest and let them go a little bit.”
According to Miami Herald correspondent Daniel Gould, freshman receiver Dee Wiggins played 23 snaps against Toledo and Brian Hightower 18, but Mark Pope played only five and Marquez Ezzard none on offense. Redshirt freshman Evidence Njoku played six.
▪ More snap counts from Gould: Among some other notable freshmen, tight end Brevin Jordan played 70 snaps against Toledo, tight end Will Mallory 27, running back Lorenzo Lingard five, defensive tackle Nesta Silvera 10 (the same number as sophomore defensive tackle Jon Ford), cornerback Al Blades Jr. three and defensive backs Gurvan Hall and DJ Ivey five apiece.
▪ Richt noted on Hurricane Hotline that even though guard Venzell Boulware came to UM as a grad transfer, he has two years of eligibility left. That’s helpful, because Boulware has come on strong recently and is splitting left guard snaps with Jahair Jones.
“The No. 2 offensive line has some good-looking kids,” Richt said. “We’re excited about our future up front.”
▪ Richt opining on several players on Hurricane Hotline:
On defensive tackle Gerald Willis: “We couldn’t block him on the scout team last year. He took pride in terrorizing [offensive line coach Stacy] Searels and the offensive line. I’m not shocked he’s disrupting so many things.”… Defensive end Jon Garvin “is long, fast, much stronger than he was a year ago. Really getting coached well by coach [Jess] Simpson and he can really cover so much ground...”....
Linebacker Mike Pinckney “sees things that young players don’t see. He also comes with speed and agility and linemen, God love them, are usually not as good athletes as these linebackers.”… Linebacker Shaquille Quarterman “is not afraid to say what’s real and encourage guys when need it. He’s a true leader.”
▪ UM said one objective for Quarterman this season was improving in pass coverage in order to stay on the field all three downs. Though he has played well overall, he allowed all three passes thrown in his coverage area to be caught, for 44 yards, against Toledo.…
Per Gould, linebacker Zach McCloud played only a handful of defensive snaps against Toledo. Because of Toledo’s collection of skilled receivers and penchant for passing, UM believed striker position players Romeo Finley (29 snaps) and Derrick Smith (27 snaps) would be the better options in that game.
Here’s a link to my Dolphins and Marlins stories today.