CORAL GABLES — With a struggling opponent up next, Mark Richt isn’t worried about his team looking ahead.
“If we were rolling everybody,” Richt said, “by three touchdowns, no drama … if we were having that kind of a roll, maybe. But we’re just finding ways to win at the end of games. We’re not foolish enough to think we’ve arrived. I don’t think they believe that. They know we’ve got to earn it.”
Lest anyone think he didn’t have his priorities straight, Richt declined to address a question asking how far in advance he scouts — specifically Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, UM’s main tests down the stretch. The eighth-ranked Hurricanes (6-0, 4-0 ACC) host the Hokies, currently 6-1 (2-1) and ranked 13th, on Nov. 4 in a game that could decide the ACC Coastal. The impressive Irish (6-1) visit the following week, in a game that could have College Football Playoff implications.
If Miami had more depth, Richt might feel more comfortable talking about titles.
“Good things are happening, but it takes time to recruit, over time, to get your roster deep enough with guys that can really play at a championship level,” Richt said. “We’re just trying to get to the point in recruiting where we have guys we feel very comfortable playing two-deep, three-deep. … Trying to get used to winning, a winning culture, hopefully that’s being developed.”
More from Richt’s weekly press conference, ahead of Saturday’s game in Chapel Hill (noon, ESPN2):
* Tight end Michael Irvin II is “out of the doghouse,” Richt said. Irvin’s indefinite suspension will end at one game.
* Captains for this week: Malik Rosier, Michael Jackson, R.J. McIntosh and Travis Homer.
* North Carolina — which reportedly has 16 season-ending injuries and is 1-7 (0-5) — has had a tough run. Richt has “watched what they do schematically” and said UNC hasn’t changed that much “on defense, especially.” Quarterbacks Chazz Surratt and Brandon Harris are different in style, he said, “but have played enough” that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz should have a “pretty good feel of what each kid can do. … The quarterback position changes dramatically how you might play a team.”
* On Ahmmon Richards: “He’s anxious to play, and anxious to play great.” He said Richards could have had “200 yards and three touchdowns” against Syracuse, “maybe more.”
* “We’re frustrated” by Miami’s inability to consistently score inside the 5, Richt said.
* Richt on Jim Larranaga‘s situation: “I know Jim fairly well, and if there’s ever been a genuine human being, it’s Jim Larranaga.”
* Having Mark Walton back at practice Tuesday was “big.” He said he wants all injured players, if possible, to at least be in the post-practice huddle. He said he doesn’t know if Walton “gets bummed out by it” when he’s alone, but his spirits have been high.
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