Barry Jackson

Why UM is intending to redshirt Lingard. And Hurricanes’ QB situation clarified

A six-pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Monday:

Running back Lorenzo Lingard, one of only two five-star players on the roster, is now poised to redshirt after coming to coach Manny Diaz on Sunday and saying he’s not feeling like himself yet as a runner — nearly 12 months after knee surgery.

Lingard appeared in a game for the first time this season on Saturday against Virginia Tech but only played on special teams. He is a sophomore this season because he played in too many games last season (six) to redshirt before sustaining the knee injury.

“He spoke to me and we had a great conversation,” Diaz said. “While he’s medically cleared he’s not right and he knows that. He is committed to being at UM and he loves being at UM. He sees a big-time future for himself, and we see that in him.”

So the plan, at this point, is to redshirt him barring something unforeseen. UM can still use him three more games without jeopardizing his redshirt and Diaz said he’s open to doing that “if we can.”

“It was neat,” Diaz said of Lingard coming to him. “He has had a lot of external pressure and was honest about it [saying], ‘Look I know I am not in danger of getting hurt on the field, but I also know who I am as a runner and it’s not always there.’ He loves football, has a great demeanor. That was super mature for him to come to me yesterday.”

Offensive coordinator Dan Enos said the starting quarterback for Friday’s game against visiting Virginia is undetermined and will be based on practice performance of Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry. Diaz indicated on Joe Rose’s WQAM radio show that Williams is the starter entering the week. But that will be moot if Perry clearly outplays Williams in practice.

“The big thing coach and I talked about is he wants to see how Jarren responds,” Enos said. “This is the first adversity [he has faced]. We will get a feel for how they play and practice and make a decision of what’s best for the organization….

“Coach doesn’t want to knee jerk and take quarterbacks in and out. We want a guy that’s our guy. Saturday we needed a spark, and sometimes that has to be the quarterback if he’s not playing very well. These things usually end up working themselves out.”

Though Perry threw for 422 yards in more than three quarters Saturday, Enos said “we could have thrown for 700 yards if we executed properly…. He came in in really difficult circumstances and played his tail off. There was a lull in the game where he got taken away on a spaceship and a different guy came down. He went the wrong way on a bootleg one time and took a sack. He did have a lull in the action but came back strong, showed tremendous poise and composure. The team had a lot of confidence in him. I thought he did a really good job.”

As for Williams, Enos said he “practiced very well [Sunday], threw the ball well. There are growing pains for young players. He’s had some good games so far.”

UM leads the nation in sacks allowed per game and yet four highly recruited players aren’t starting or playing at all. (A fifth, Cleveland Reed, transferred last month).

But Diaz said “we are playing the best guys we have. The biggest thing is they fight. If you have five guys who stay connected, then you have a chance. We took a sack on the naked [bootleg] when [the quarterback] went the wrong way. It’s hard to put 35 points up if somebody is not blocking somewhere. This is who we are.”

He also said you would be “hard pressed to find a correlation between [number and quality of scholarship offers] and performance. There’s no position with a higher bust rate.” He also said in general, “offers are not always real offers.”

Does UM need to look for different things in linemen than the old staff did?

“A lot of times you’re looking for the dog in him and are they a fighter,” Diaz said. “We’re happy to have [freshmen] Zion Nelson and [Jakai Clark].”

What about recruiting more offensive linemen from the Midwest — as some of UM’s great teams did — or from a particular region?

“Just because they’re from that [any particular] area doesn’t mean they’re amazing players,” Diaz said. “What we can’t find enough of here, we push out. We have offensive line recruits outside the state.”

Defensive tackle Chigozie Nnoruka didn’t play Saturday because he was injured. Defensive coordinator Blake Baker said defensive tackle Nesta Silvera — making his regular-season debut after missing a month with a foot injury — “played really well, tough” — and that the other backup defensive tackle used in the game (Jordan Miller) “had his best game as a Hurricane. Those two stood out because of their effort.”

Once again, UM’s best pass rusher this season, defensive end Greg Rousseau, played only limited defensive snaps Sunday (22, according to College Football Focus). He has four sacks this season.

Asked why this continues to be an issue, Baker again reiterated that “Greg has earned the right [to play] more. Flow of the game dictates that sometimes. Greg has been a bright spot all season.”

Quick stuff: Baker said he’s excited about Diaz assuming a larger role in defensive game-planning and practices. Diaz said Baker will continue to call the plays… UM’s home game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 19 will be a noon start and televised on ACC Network…. Enos loved how receiver Jeff Thomas played Saturday.

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