He didn’t touch the ball much — just five carries for 35 yards in the opener against an FCS team, and two carries for nine yards last week against Duke — but Mark Richt feels Travis Homer had a strong debut.
“Kickoff return, we had five or six true freshmen on that team as starters, and a bunch of freshmen covering kicks,” Richt said. “Homer was one of the best ones on the team, period, regardless of whether he’s a freshman or not. Just very fast and athletic and cares enough to get somebody on the ground. It’s fun to see a kid do that and get some value out of that first season.”
Homer, a true freshman from West Palm Beach’s Oxbridge Academy, made several outstanding tackles, but his future is at running back. Especially if Joe Yearby follows through with his plans to enter the NFL draft, Homer will be counted on next season.
Like all returning players, Homer will try to impress coaches during bowl practices. But Richt, who said he’ll begin bowl practices after final exams are over (Dec. 8-14), won’t give them as many opportunities. He feels that’s a good thing.
Al Golden, in the last few years, often referred to bowl practices as a much-needed opportunity for his team to get better. Richt, in this season where he’s played so many freshmen, will give them a break.
“Usually you play a bunch of freshmen at that time, you practice [with] a bunch of freshmen and develop those guys,” Richt said, chuckling, on his weekly coach’s show. “Our guys have been practicing and playing. We don’t have a bunch of extra guys. They’ve all been playing, they’ve all been practicing, almost every one of them.”
Miami signed signed 18 freshmen. Not including Sam Bruce, who was dismissed in October, UM played 12. Bowl practices will be a chance for LSU transfer offensive tackle George Brown (who is redshirting, but over the last few weeks played second string in practices because of UM’s injuries) to get in the mix, as well as receiver Dionte Mullins, tight end Michael Irvin II and other youngsters who didn’t play much. Richt may elect to take a longer look at freshman quarterback Jack Allison, who ran the scout team for most of the year rather than take reps with the other backups.
“There’s a couple guys you may grab, transfers who maybe were ineligible or something,” Richt said, referring to Brown. “We don’t have a lot of guys to do what a lot of teams do. I’m not going to practice 15 times for the heck of it. I’m going to do enough to develop those players who didn’t get enough, so to speak. We’re going to mainly focus o whoever our opponent is and try to win that bowl game.”