Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt defends his play-calling
A six-pack of Canes notes on a Friday, on the eve of Saturday’s UM-Duke game from Hard Rock Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN2):
▪ For years, UM coaches on Al Golden’s staff and the basketball side privately complained about what they perceived as an anti-UM bias from Atlantic Coast Conference game officials.
This UM football staff isn’t going to voice such concerns publicly, but a year after UM went more than half a season without an offensive holding penalty by the opponent, ACC officiating has frustrated Miami staffers this year in two different areas:
1. UM believes it should have been the beneficiary of more defensive holding or pass interference calls against the opponent.
2. UM was angry and thoroughly mystified why a targeting penalty wasn’t called against Boston College in a key goal-line play last Friday.
On fourth-and-goal from the Eagles’ 3-yard line with nearly 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Malik Rosier’s pass to Darrell Langham in the corner of the end zone fell incomplete and the Eagles maintained their 27-14 lead. After the play was reviewed for what appeared to potentially be targeting by safety Will Harris, officials cleared Harris of any infractions.
“It was pretty classic [of what targeting is],” Mark Richt said on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline this week. “He was a defenseless player. It was as clean as it could be. I had officials telling me, ‘Get your offense ready to go.’ And all of a sudden, they say no penalty. That is as classic of a shot as you can get. [It would have been] first-and-goal at the 1... Why the officials are telling me, ‘get your offense ready to go’ and all of a sudden it’s no foul, I don’t understand what was happening there.”
▪ Richt said on Hurricane Hotline that play-calling “is a little bit overrated. Execution is important. People don’t understand what I’m saying or they don’t want to hear it. They want results… I understand [the] frustration.”
But Richt also made clear he’s taking accountability, particularly for things he could have done better as a play-caller on a particular play.
Here’s one example: On a play torpedoed when freshman right tackle DJ Scaife allowed a sack, Richt said:
“Jeff Thomas, exact same route run against North Carolina. He’s open by 12 yards — he was breaking wide open — we had the perfect play for the coverage. The cornerback is on his heels — he didn’t think [Thomas] would run the post — [and Thomas is] running by him. We get beat around the edge and don’t get the ball off.
“Should I have had a tight end or back chip? I probably should have. It would have made a difference in that play. If a guy is struggling, I should have done a better job [to get him help blocking]. We’ve got to do better as coaches, and everyone has to do a better job taking care of their business.”
▪ Richt defended Scaife, who has struggled at times in his first two starts: “D.J. is very talented. D.J. wouldn’t be in the position he is right now if he wasn’t a talented guy. And he is a smart guy. But he’s a freshman and freshmen make mistakes.”
▪ Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz spoke this week of needing to play more players on defense so players don’t wear down. According to Miami Herald correspondent Daniel Gould, defensive linemen Jon Ford and Demetrius Jackson and Nesta Silvera didn’t play a defensive snap against Boston College — the second week in a row that has happened.
“You need to see Jon Ford; I think he’ll continue to get more snaps,” Diaz said. “I’d like to get Mike Smith more snaps, practicing at a very high level.
Smith, a backup linebacker, played 10 defensive snaps against Boston College.
▪ UM hopes freshman running back Lorenzo Lingard will be back for the start of fall camp next August after he sustained a significant injury to his knee, requiring surgery, during that practice injury two weeks ago, when he caught a pass out of the backfield. Cam Davis has been taking practice snaps in his place.
▪ Quick stuff: UM says its game against FIU next season will be played in November but that the site (Marlins Park or Hard Rock Stadium) remains undetermined... The ACC will decide the start time of UM’s Nov. 10 game at Georgia Tech on Saturday night or Sunday morning.... ESPN2 assigned Beth Mowins and former Jets tight end Anthony Becht to Saturday night’s UM-Duke game.