Hurricane Irma: Miami Hurricanes players trying to focus on Arkansas State

Mark Richt and players at practice (Miami Herald)

[UM preps for Hurricane Irma]

[Tuesday notes: Richards back at practice]

[Richt on radio: WQAM comments]

[3 reasons UM beat BCU, 3 fixes for Ark. State]

CORAL GABLES — They’re thinking about their families and friends. They’re also trying to let their coaches and the school’s administration do most of the planning.

Miami players who spoke Tuesday said Hurricane Irma wasn’t foremost on their minds, as the storm barreled westward toward South Florida as a Category 5 storm.

The National Hurricane Center reported maximum sustained winds of 180 mph and gusts of 220-plus. UM players who just left the practice field were not aware of those facts. They were aware of the challenges Arkansas State could present in Saturday’s game, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).

[RELATED: Latest on Hurricane Irma, radar, prep lists]

UM is slated to travel Friday, when the storm is expected to hit South Florida.  Athletics Director Blake James told The Post he was in contact with Arkansas State, the ACC and ESPN about issues regarding the storm.

UM announced before 1:45 p.m. Tuesday it was canceling classes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That was two hours after players spoke.

[RELATED: Hurricane Irma prep list, supplies]

“I’m  not trying to worry about that stuff,” said defensive tackle RJ McIntosh, who is from the Fort Lauderdale area.  “We understand it’s coming our way, but we have an away game. We’re trying to focus on this game. We have to win this game.”

Center Tyler Gauthier, from Venice, said UM’s coaches are handling much of the preparation. “They’ve given us hurricane readiness guides [so] we can have information in case we do get stuck in it,” he said. “It’s something we’ve got to monitor. We don’t even know if it’s going to hit us yet. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life and hurricanes can turn whenever. We’ve got to keep watching it, but we’ll be OK.”

Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who hails from the Atlanta area, hasn’t been through a hurricane before.

“God’s wrath is God’s wrath,” said Brown, a devout Christian. “All you can do is try to lock in and focus. We have plans for our families to keep them safe.

“We make football important, but lives are definitely more important. … A lot of times we as coaches and players get caught up in this bubble, when there’s a lot of stuff going on outside that’s more important.”

Defensive end Chad Thomas had a simple message, seemingly directed at the storm itself:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s