Barry Jackson

Here’s UM’s decision about what to do with player who committed costly penalty in Virginia game

Here’s our story on the big news of the day: Mark Richt admonishing N’Kosi Perry for posting a video with a stack of money on his lap.

Meanwhile, here’s a six-pack of unrelated Hurricanes notes heading into UM’s game at Boston College on Friday (7 p.m., ESPN):

The Hurricanes have disciplined defensive tackle Tito Odenigbo for his mindless and costly personal foul late in the Virginia game, but he won’t be suspended and his playing time won’t be impacted, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said Monday.

“We’ve handled that here on this field,” Diaz said. “We’ve handled that in the building. There are a bunch of things he’s had to sort of complete in that way. And we have been able to learn from that in terms of what happens when we let our emotions dictate our actions.

“If coach says we’re going to coach these guys like they’re our sons, it’s fun to coach them when they’re doing well but when they make mistakes our mistakes are very public. We put them on national TV for everyone to see. We would be the worst parents in the world if we just kicked the kid out of the house.

“Did that play lose us the game? There were 100 plays that lost us that Virginia game. That was at a critical time and he feels awful about it. He’s done discipline and we’ve been able to turn it into a learning experience. He’s paid his penance and continues to pay in penance in some ways that are not for public consumption.”

Just after a play in which UM stopped Virginia on a third-down play, Odenigbo pushed a Virginia player in the back, giving the Cavaliers a first down and the ability to run out the clock.

UM expected more poise from Odenigbo, a senior who transferred from Illinois this past offseason.

Now that Richt has gone back to Malik Rosier as his starting quarterback, does Richt regret going to Perry as his starter in the North Carolina game last month?

“Not really because I believed what I believed,” he said. “You’ve got to go with your gut and heart. If you think something is right, you do it. If you think making [another] change is right, you do it. That’s what leadership is all about, making decisions that may not be popular. Malik handled the demotion like a man and didn’t do a bunch of things to hurt his chances to be the man again. Those two kids like each other a lot.”

Richt didn’t say anything Monday that would suggest freshman Jarren Williams is in the mix to start.

“Jarren is learning,” Richt said. “He’s getting there. Every time you play a new team, they might have a new wrinkle. He’s getting reps. He’s getting more reps as a No. 3 than I give the No. 3 quarterback. I want to see him get better.”

Receiver Brian Hightower will miss the Boston College game with an ankle injury, but Richt is hopeful he will be ready to play against Duke on Nov. 3.

Meanwhile, with UM having lost Hightower for now and Ahmmon Richards to a career-ending neck injury, Richt said he might start using tight end Will Mallory more.

“The guy who’s really practicing well is Mallory,” Richt said.

As for where he stands at receiver, Richt said: “Mark Pope has been in the game a good bit. Dee Wiggins started [against Virginia]. Lawrence Cager working both sides. Jeff [Thomas] is playing inside and outside. Mike Harley knows inside and outside. [We still have Darrell Langham. Marquez Ezzard is coming along. We have guys who will end up being really good.”

Why did defensive linemen Jon Ford and Demetrius Jackson not play a single defensive snap against Virginia?

In Ford’s case, he’s behind Gerald Willis, Pat Bethel and Odenigbo.

“Jon is still learning and becoming more assignment sound,” Diaz said. “We have a lot of guys ahead of him playing at a super high level. To get in right now, the bar has a little bit been raised. Jon is close, has really made some big improvements from a year ago. I was watching him today going through a drill and I said this guy has got quite a future. He’s everything you want from an interior defensive guy.”

Meanwhile, Scott Patchan “has nudged in front of D-Jack as [UM’s No. 3] defensive end,” Diaz said. “It’s hard to take [starting defensive ends] Joe Jackson and Jon Garvin off the field. Every week, we have to assess temperature of the game. We’re not playing as many snaps defensively as we did a year ago. You’re only talking about playing 50, 60 snaps on defense.”

Diaz is pleased how Romeo Finley and Derrick Smith Jr. have played at the new striker position and cautions not to read anything into Zach McCloud’s reduction in playing time that has been a byproduct of that.

“Everybody has handled it really well,” Diaz said. “It’s all been about the game. There are some games it’s more Zach, more Romeo. The neat thing is Zach has played very well, played at a very high level. Has made a big jump from where he was a year ago. Romeo has become a dependable guy on our defense, playing very consistently. That position has become a very strong position on our defense.”

Diaz didn’t blame the referees for ejecting cornerback Michael Jackson for targeting against Virginia, because they were merely following the rules. But Diaz again called for the rules to be evaluated.

“We’ve asked what you can do differently,” Diaz said. “What other part of a defensive player’s body can a guy hit. I don’t think anyone would bat an eye if you say that’s a 15-yard penalty. But for a guy to be disqualified... Does the same thing happen to players on offense? It’s something the competition committee [has to look at].”

UM’s home game against Duke on Nov. 3 will be at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.