Three notes from Mark Richt‘s post-practice chat with reporters:
Standard unmet: How much of the team is practicing at the level of consistency he wants? “No one is really doing that yet,” Richt said. “But we’re getting closer, and we’re pursuing that, obviously. For those guys to be saying it, they know how important it is. We’re getting better. Even when you watch film, offensively, when you start out, you might have seven out of 11 [players] doing it right, and you get beat. When you get eight, nine, 10 out of 11 getting it right, you’re getting closer but you still might end up losing that rep. When everybody starts doing it, that’s when you start really clicking.”
Richt noted that the offense “won the day” in a “tough, long practice” Monday, following the first full day off since camp began Aug. 4. The offense was handily whipped by the defense in the first week of camp. And the offense could have scored a more decisive win if not for drops, which were a major issue last year and in the spring. “Today, if we caught the ball when the ball was right in our hands — I’m talking about the tight end and wide receiver position — it would have been, not a landslide, but there would have been no drama at the end,” Richt said. “We dropped too many balls today.”
Return game: Miami is working Braxton Berrios, Stacy Coley, Malcolm Lewis and Corn Elder at punt returns and “we’re teaching Sam Bruce,” Richt said. On kickoff returns, Mark Walton, Coley, Elder and Berrios are potential returners. “Most of them double it up,” Richt said. Additionally, Gus Edwards is getting a shot at kick returns. “He might be the off-return man, but he’s back there,” Richt said. “He’ll probably be more of an off-return man. But if the ball goes his way, he’ll be returning it.”
“A lot of people want the most prolific return man, but I want the most dependable return man first,” Richt said. “If he happens to be the most prolific, as a runner or a guy who can stick it in the end zone, great. But if he’s great at that and doesn’t field the ball well, or doesn’t secure the ball well, he won’t be the guy. I want the most dependable guy. We’re working so many guys, I don’t even know what to tell you on that. The good news is, we have more than one or two or three guys that can do kick and punt return.
Mayes out: Cornerback Ryan Mayes has a left shoulder injury, Richt said, but won’t require surgery. “Dinged it,” Richt said. “I don’t think it’s any kind of surgical deal. Just hurts right now.” Mayes had an interception in last Wednesday’s scrimmage and is battling for the No. 4 cornerback job. It’s unclear how long he may be out. Richt also said he thought safety Robert Knowles was practicing with his broken left hand: “I think we were going to club him up and let him go.” Knowles is fighting to be Miami’s No. 4 safety. See this blog post for other injury notes.