Miami Hurricanes

Richt may go with a freshman WR if Ahmmon Richards can’t play in Opener

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It’s officially game week for the Miami Hurricanes as they get set to take on Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. The depth chart is starting to take shape with only a few lingering question marks left in the last week of camp. The WR position heading into camp wasn’t one of those issues and sophomore Ahmmon Richards hands down the #1 receiver with Braxton Berios and Lawrence Cager, who had a great camp after coming off injury to fill out the starters.

With Richards nursing a sore hamstring, there’s a chance that he may not be able to play on Saturday. If the treatment this week on Richards doesn’t do enough to ease the tight hamstring, he may be forced to sit. That means Mark Richt and the coaching staff will have to figure out options. On his Monday appearance with Joe Rose on WQAM 560AM said that freshman Mike Harley may get the nod to start shifting the rotation (via Sun Sentinel): 

“It will probably be Harley at flanker, Berrios in the slot, and probably Cager at X,” Richt told Rose, when asked about his potential starting three at receiver. “We would normally have Ahmmon. If Ahmmon is healthy, Ahmmon will be X and Cager would be the flanker. But with Ahmmon out, we moved Cager back to what he grew up on with us. And then Harley and [Dionte] Mullins, both of those kids would play a good bit if Ahmmon is out.”

“As a matter of fact, I want every one of our receivers to play a good bit, every scholarship guy should get in there and play a good bit.”

Harley has impressed the staff during camp, especially with his speed. He isn’t a big target at 5’9 160 lbs, but he sure is able to create space and run crisp routes. The one thing that stood out about the freshman receivers in fall camp is their speed. The space Harley and fellow freshman Jeff Thomas have been able to get can only help starting QB Malik Rosier get more comfortable.

With the opponent being Bethune-Cookman risking Ahmmon Richards to further injury probably won’t be worth it, if his hamstring doesn’t loosen. Harley and Thomas were expected to get playing time anyways on Saturday, but for Harley, clearly now it looks like he would get an even more expanded role.

From what you are hearing from the coaching staff about how the fierce competition between the spring and fall has been at every single position, it’s going to be hard not to be optimistic. The pressure is seemingly having everyone elevate their game and is creating a level of depth that will be required if a team wants to compete for a conference title. Saturday can’t come soon enough.

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