With his team losers of three in a row, Mark Richt remains realistic about what he’s building. It is far from a complete product.
“I never try to put a lid on any season and what can happen,” he said. “Game 5 [Florida State] was very winnable. Game 6 [North Carolina], very winnable. Game 7 [Virginia Tech] got away from us a little bit more. … Could we have won those games? Yes. We didn’t win those games. Do we have a lot of depth? No.”
That is the major issue facing Miami (4-3, 1-3 ACC), which played 49 players, including 25 freshmen and sophomores, in its third conference game last week, a 37-16 loss in Blacksburg.
“If you have six true freshmen playing on defense at the same time, in any given game you’re not up by 30, you’ve got some depth issues,” Richt said.
“We’re not going to cry about it. We know we need great players to come. I’ll sit here and recruit right now: If great players want to come and play early in their career, come on. Because we’re going to grow together and do great things together.”
Miami’s recruiting class, which ranks 12th nationally according to 247Sports’ composite ratings, has 19 commits.
Like other assistants, offensive line coach Stacy Searels (who is trying to add more talent to a recruiting class that includes four-star offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson), is trying to get the most out of his current group.
“Do you ever enjoy not winning? No,” he said. “I plan on us getting stronger from it.”
Injury updates: A source said defensive end Chad Thomas (upper body) and cornerback Sheldrick Redwine (lower body, per source), who missed last week with injuries, practiced in full on Tuesday. Defensive end Demetrius Jackson and tackle Gerald Willis (knee injuries for both) were limited, as was safety Rayshawn Jenkins (ankle).
Richt said he “wasn’t watching those guys specifically,” and has declined to discuss injuries. He has said he expects to get a few players back this week.
Additionally, senior tight end Stan Dobard continues to practice at defensive end. It remains unclear if he will be ready to play in a game, or if he will be needed.
Rivalry reboot: Richt said he “won’t spend the whole week” talking Miami-Notre Dame with players, none of whom were born when the rivalry was center stage nationally, but he said “it’s important for them to know” the history.
“Their focus doesn’t need to be 20 years ago,” Richt said. “But I do think it’s important for them to hear why people get excited about the game, beyond anybody’s record.
“Regardless of the record, regardless of how we’re doing conference-wise, good or bad, this game stands alone.”
One other note In giving his scouting report, Richt spoke of “NFL bodies” on the offensive end defensive lines. One of the defensive linemen, Cage, No. 75, he’s got six blocked kicks in his career, which is impressive. “I’m sure he’s licking his chops from what he’s seen on our extra-point and field goal unit,” Richt said.