Miami Hurricanes DTs Courtel Jenkins, Anthony Moten questionable for FAU, Gerald Willis’ role

UM defensive linemen Ufomba Kamalu (left), Courtel Jenkins and Calvin Heurtelou line up against Florida State on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 in Tallahassee. (AP)

UM defensive linemen Ufomba Kamalu (left), Courtel Jenkins and Calvin Heurtelou line up against Florida State on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 in Tallahassee. (AP)

[Hurricanes are a top-25 team again]

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[Feature story on fullback Marquez Williams]

[Miami’s defense has a ‘million things to fix’ this week]

[Canes thankful for true freshmen in opener]

[Willis on UM’s FAU-week depth chart]

Two junior defensive tackles, Courtel Jenkins and Anthony Moten, were described as “questionable” by coach Mark Richt for Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic.

Jenkins, who injured his right knee late in last Saturday’s 70-3 win over Florida A&M, did not attend practice Wednesday. He could miss more than this week, according to a source.

Moten, who dislocated his right shoulder in practice the week of the FAMU game, was at practice and participated in the early individual drills reporters are allowed to see for 15 minutes.

“I’d say both are questionable at this point,” Richt said after practice.

Miami will need all its available defensive players against FAU, which runs plays at a high tempo. The Owls 76 plays in its season-opening win against Southern Illinois despite possessing the ball for 29 minutes. “They’ll be one of the fastest teams we play all year,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.

That means he’ll need redshirt sophomore tackle Gerald Willis, the former Florida blue-chip recruit who will make his UM debut after a redshirt season plus a one-game suspension.

Willis, who consistently impressed coaches in the spring, last saw game action in Nov. 2014 before his dismissal from Florida. “If he plays really hard and tackles, we’ll be pleased with him,” Diaz said. He and redshirt freshman Ryan Fines will be counted on to give sophomore starters RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton a break.

No Miami defensive player played more against FAMU than McIntosh, who registered a game-high eight tackles (2.0 for loss). McIntosh was on the field for 59 of 76 defensive plays, according to friend of Canes Watch Daniel Gould. Norton played 38. Jenkins played 24. Fines played 13.

“We have what we have, and we have to keep coming at guys,” Diaz said. “Those guys need to empty the tank, go to the sideline and refill it, and go back out there and empty again.”

Miami might get more from junior end Trent Harris, who is dealing with a broken left hand (he hit his hand on a helmet in practice last week). Wearing a large, soft, padded wrap, Harris played 11 of 75 snaps against FAMU and did not register a stat. His work was split nearly even between first, second and third downs.

Harris, who is right-handed, said he had to focus on getting a strong grip on his man with his right hand, so he could “steer” with his left. “Just had to get the hang of it,” he said, adding that the pain was “tolerable.” He may have a smaller wrap on the hand Saturday.

“Trent’s got a tough guy,” Diaz said. “He’s got a lot of heart. Lot of determination. You have to rely on those things when you’re not 100 percent. You don’t play the entire football season at 100 percent, anyway. He’s at that point now. He’ll give us what he has.”

Richt said he’s seen a lot of players play with a club in his 30-plus years as a coach.

“I remember one time, I don’t know who we were playing — this is way back, when I was at Florida State — and coach [BobbyBowden saw this defensive back with a club on his hand,” Richt recalled. “Coach Bowden’s like, ‘We’ve got to throw the ball on that guy.’ So now we’re trying to find the guy with the club and throw it to him, because he only had one hand. Well, he got two picks that day. I don’t know if it’s that big a disadvantage or not.”

Harris isn’t the only Hurricanes player playing through an injury, of course. Junior linebacker Darrion Owens, who tore the ACL and menisci on both sides of his right knee last Sept. 11 at FAU, hopes to return soon. Redshirt freshman defensive end Scott Patchan (torn right ACL in March) is a little further away. Wide receiver Lawrence Cager and running back Trayone Gray are out for the year with ACL tears.

“I think all of our guys are going to go if they’re able,” Richt said. “There are some injuries that allow you to keep going, and some that you can’t. If a guy has an ACL, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. I think those guys are pretty tough, too. But to play with something hurting is pretty common in football.”

The continued comeback of Scott Patchan from a March ACL tear.

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