CORAL GABLES — Miami and Florida State, their seasons already knocked off-schedule by stormy weather, may not be in the clear.
Officials from both schools and the ACC are monitoring a tropical depression in the south Caribbean Sea, which the National Hurricane Center said could strengthen into a hurricane and threaten the Gulf Coast of Florida this weekend.
Miami-Florida State is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The NHC expects Tropical Depression 16 to become Tropical Storm Nate sometime Wednesday. The storm could reach hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall, perhaps by Sunday morning.
The center track of the cone is close to Tallahassee.
“We are monitoring the situation and are in communication with both Florida State University and the Atlantic Coast Conference office,” a UM spokesperson said. FSU released a near-identical statement.
The Miami-FSU game was moved from Sept. 16 to this weekend because of Hurricane Irma, which hit South Florida on Sept. 9-10 and worked its way up the state.
This was the bye week for both teams, which could make a second rescheduling difficult.
“You really can only control what you can control,” UM coach Mark Richt said. “We’ll let the administration figure all that out. … We’re going to keep practicing and preparing and getting ready to play.”
Both the Hurricanes and Seminoles canceled their Week 2 games (at Arkansas State and at home against Louisiana-Monroe, respectively) and spent more than five days out of practice. The Hurricanes went 10 days without an official practice, and spent a week in Orlando before returning home for a Sept. 23 game against Toledo.
“Wait, what?” was senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios‘ reaction when told of the news. “You’re joking.”
He had just returned to campus on a team bus from Davie, where the Hurricanes practiced Tuesday and Wednesday. With rain in the forecast this very important week, the Dolphins lent UM, which lacks an indoor facility, its practice bubble as a precaution.
“Whatever it is,” Berrios said, “we’ll take it in stride like we have this season.”
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz used a movie analogy to describe the team’s attitude towards weather.
“Remember in Apollo 13, when they’re trying to land the ship, and the guy comes and says, ‘There’s a hurricane in the landing spot,’ and the other guy says, ‘Should we even tell [Houston] about it?’ That’s kind of the point where we’re at right now. It doesn’t affect anything in our preparation. We will go play if they let us play.”
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