Coach Mark Richt said defensive end Chad Thomas‘ broken hand will not keep him from playing Saturday against North Carolina (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2).
Thomas broke his right hand in UM’s 20-19 loss to Florida State and finished the game, making a major impact late in the fourth quarter despite his injury. He wore a club-like wrapping on his hand at practice Tuesday.
“Sometimes you wrap up a boo-boo and you go,” Richt said, noting that linemen in particular often have mangled hands by the time their careers are done. “You pad it up and you play. … Sometimes you get hands get busted up and bruised up.”
Defensive end Trent Harris, who broke his hand before UM’s first game and played three games with a “club,” said he told Thomas to “just fight. Chad’s already a fighter. He’s going to do well with it. He’ll fight through it.”
* Defensive tackle Gerald Willis, Richt said, is not expected to play. Willis has a sprained MCL, according to a source, and did not practice Tuesday.
* Wide receiver Stacy Coley, who also has a sprained MCL, was present at practice.
* Richt on Sam Bruce, who was dismissed Monday:
“It’s always sad to have to part ways. I do wish the very best for Sam and I think Sam’s going to get it right and finish strong in his career. There’s been a lot of guys that have taken a little different path than they thought they would and come out on the end great, and a better man for it.”
“It creates another opportunity for another recruit,” Richt said. “As we see with Ahmmon Richards and we see all around the country, freshmen can come in and play, if you bring the right freshman in, at that position.”
UM’s top-rated wide receiver recruit is multi-purpose four-star athlete DeeJay Dallas. UM also has three-stars Kevaughn Dingle and Evidence Njoku committed.
* UM President Julio Frenk addressed the team before practice. “He saw the big picture,” Richt said. “He saw the fans, he saw the students, he saw the band, he saw the excitement and the passion. He saw the best of what we can be. He just wanted to tell the guys he appreciated it as far as their effort.”
* ACC spokesman Mike Finn confirmed the league’s rule that on-field calls cannot be reversed after the game. Thus, the targeting call against safety Jamal Carter will stand, and Carter will sit for the first half against UNC. UM did not agree with the call, which gave FSU a critical first-down in the fourth quarter. A great many fans threw bottles and other debris onto the field, causing a brief delay.