CORAL GABLES — “All right, what do you want to know?” Mark Richt asked a collection of reporters, who were holding cameras and audio recorders a few feet from his face.
“The first three questions will be, ‘None of y’all’s business,'” he joked. “So go ahead and ask those.”
Richt was in a sunny, gregarious mood after Friday’s practice, all kidding aside. He had no issue elaborating on the health status of three sophomores, two of them rising stars, who were missing in action.
Wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, Richt said, was tested for a concussion. The Wellington High grad, who last year led all freshmen nationally in receiving yards (934) and broke Michael Irvin‘s 31-year-old first-year UM record in that category, is apparently not seriously hurt. He was held out of Friday’s practice.
“When he caught a ball [Thursday], he landed and his head hit,” Richt said. “Our tests did not have him as [having] a concussion. As a precaution, we just held him today. Obviously, all the concussion protocol will be used in this case, but I think we’re already past that. From what I’m being told, there’s no concussion.”
Linebacker Michael Pinckney, a dynamic playmaker and UM’s starting weak-side linebacker, has been “getting over” a hamstring strain, Richt said. This is an ongoing issue for Pinckney, who dealt with the same ailment last August.
Both Pinckney and Richards were seen riding stationary bikes during the media viewing portion of Friday’s practice. Richt didn’t say whether they would practice Saturday. UM is off Sunday and will conduct its first scrimmage of camp next Saturday.
Both players dealt with injuries last camp, before shining brightly in freshman All-American seasons. Pinckney missed time with a balky hamstring. Richards battled turf toe.
Another player UM will rely on this season, though not as heavily: sophomore tight end Michael Irvin II. a relied-on backup to Chris Herndon. He has been dehydrated, and “is doing well, not well enough to go today. He should be back very soon, if not tomorrow.” Irvin missed the second half of Tuesday’s practice, returned Wednesday and Thursday, and was not present Friday.
His absence makes Richt more concerned about the depth at tight end.
“Only four guys, three on scholarships, one walk-on, right here, right now,” he said. That situation, he said, that makes him think more about using “10 personnel” — one back, zero tight ends, which is to imply four wide receivers. UM regularly used tight ends David Njoku and Herndon as a tandem last year.
Though the Hurricanes lost Njoku to the NFL draft, they signed four receivers — speedsters Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley, versatile DeeJay Dallas and 6-foot-6 Evidence Njoku, David’s brother — and get another skyscraper, Lawrence Cager, back from a knee injury.
Herndon, Richt said, “is the real deal at tight end. I wish I had three of him.”
Walk-on no more: Richt revealed he put former walk-on wide receiver Malik Mayweather, a redshirt junior who will graduate in December, on a football scholarship.
“He’s been a tremendous student, a tremendous player,” Richt said of Mayweather, who played in UM’s season-opener last year. “Good news for him and his family.”
Mayweather, in a tweet, called it a “blessing.”
Richt said he hasn’t handed scholarships to any other former walk-ons: “Not at this point.”
CANES CAMP 2017
Porter’s video recap, live chat
Perry ‘a passer, not just a thrower’
Injury updates: Burns could miss opener
Video: Perry runs through first drills
Day 1 practice notes: Perry batting third
Photos, videos: Practice footage, field under construction
10 big storylines, how to follow camp
Offseason features, news
A sit-down with Richt, Parts I-IV
Miami gearing up for QB battle
Perry learning, adjusting, impressing
UM’s offense will depend on Walton
Quarterman leading Miami’s defense
LBs motivated by UM’s ‘ghosts of greatness’
Richards hoping to be All-American
Berrios tired of hype
‘The Playmaker’ high on Richards
Winston: Perry’s going to be ‘really good’
Cager angling for a comeback
Richt on swag | Says ‘The U is back’
Richt has really strong sandwich takes
Willis takes leave | Gone: Mayes | Odogwu | Haskins
Other fun stuff
CanesFest set for Aug. 12
Analyzing the 2017 schedule
The Guide to Watching Miami Football
A visual history of Miami football stadiums
Exclusive look at UM’s new alternate jerseys
UM jersey numbers have meaning
The Glossary of Canes player nicknames
Thomas produces music for DJ Khaled
Fun facts from the 2017 media guide
Projecting Miami’s 2018 draft class
Miami’s over-under: 9 wins
UM picked to win the Coastal
Porter’s preseason All-ACC ballot, predictions