Mark Richt on Lawrence Cager injury, Mark Walton return, Dionte Mullins

CORAL GABLES — Mark Richt said losing Lawrence Cager for the season makes him less secure — “not real comfortable,” in his words — about his wide receiver depth.

“I was hurt by that,” Richt said of Cager tearing the ACL in his right knee, a non-contact injury that occurred as he was trying to make a cut during a 7-on-7 workout last Thursday.

Mark Richt speaks to reporters at his 2016 Paradise Camp at UM. (Matt Porter)

Mark Richt speaks to reporters at his 2016 Paradise Camp at UM. (Matt Porter)

“Cager just has made so much progress from mat drills to spring ball, and for that to happen to him was very sad. The good news is he’s still very young in his career, and that type of injury, people come back from it.”

At Saturday’s Paradise Camp, Cager was in good spirits as he traversed Miami’s practice field on crutches. Like other players, he enjoyed talking with the guest coaches at the camp, especially Michael Irvin.

[Irvin: Richt ‘running towards history,’ not from it]

Losing Cager (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) means Miami is down a big red-zone target. It also means the Hurricanes will enter fall practice Aug. 4 with seven receivers on scholarship.

“It makes us have less guys that can do it,” Richt said. “We have a few more receivers now than we had in the spring, so that helps, but to go down one at that position is not real comfortable, but that’s football. The rest of the guys have got to step up and be ready to perform.”

One of the receivers not listed on the roster – Dionte Mullins – was in attendance at Paradise Camp. Mullins, who sat out his senior year at nearby Gulliver Prep because of academic issues, is still trying to bring up his test scores to qualify for UM. Fellow UM signee Cedrick Wright, a safety from Gulliver, is in a similar bind.

“Right now is everybody’s still in the race, is the best I can say it, still pursuing to get in,” Richt said, when asked about the status of both.

Other thoughts from Richt:

As the coach alluded to in a tweet, running back Mark Walton is not subject to further discipline and will play in the first game of the season, “barring anything new.” Walton, Richt said, “had a great spring. He really became a very good pass-protector, route-runner, ball-catcher. He’s an outstanding runner. He finishes well. He’s a very good player. We’ve got other good backs as well, but I’m glad he’s back in good standing and working hard.”

Richt was pleased about the talent level at his inaugural Miami camp – “there’s a massive amount of Division I players out here” – and the intense atmosphere.

“If you’ve been offered, you don’t have to try to get an offer,” Richt said. “But we were like, ‘Hey man, let’s go compete.’ We want guys that want to compete. That’s all our alums talk about: at the ‘U’ we compete. If you want to come here and cross your arms, that’s OK, and sometimes a guy’s got a little nagging injury, something like that. There’s a bunch of dudes that absolutely did not have to compete today, but they chose to compete, and that fires us up.”

On the backflip: “As long as I keep landing on my feet, I’ll do it. If I don’t land on my feet, we’ll call 911 and that’ll be the last time I try it.”

On graduating in 1982, a year before the UM’s first national title: “We tried to feel like we had a little bit of ownership in helping turn things in the right direction, because things don’t happen overnight. I don’t care if you played for a national championship team or not. If you played for the ‘U,’ you’re family, and you’re part of the legacy of this place.”

PARADISE CAMP 2016

Watch: Ray Lewis’ passionate speech to recruits
Richt wows with pool party plunge
| Staff joins him
Irvin: Richt ‘running towards history,’ not from it

Richt on Cager injury, Walton, Mullins/Wright
Highlight video, interview: QB commit N’Kosi Perry
Which UM greats were guest coaches?
Canes will always be ‘family’ to Al Blades Jr.
Family: Richt happiest he’s been in 20 years
Video: OL, DL nearly come to blows
OL commit Navaughn Donaldson locked into UM
New commits: DB Edwards | OL Hillery | DB Dent
Meet the Canes’ unofficial recruiting ambassador
Richt recruiting his nephew, 2020 QB prospect
UM focusing on Orlando for stadium backup plan

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