ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – The long road back to normalcy is nearly at an end for head coach Mark Richt and his Miami Hurricanes.
The Team has spent three weeks without playing a game, and had gone ten days without practicing earlier this month as Hurricane Irma made its way through the state of Florida.
They’ve spent this full week displaced from campus, practicing at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex in Orlando.
On Saturday, the (1-0) Hurricanes will finally be back home in Miami-Dade County, set to play an actual football game. They’ll welcome the Toledo Rockets (3-0) to Hard Rock Stadium.
On Wednesday, Richt opened up about how well his team has dealt with tough situations.
“Very well,” said Richt. “I’ve been impressed with their attitude, their focus, their effort. I’ve always thought they liked each other and they enjoyed each other’s company, but they’re enjoying this.”
As expected, players are so anxious to play in another game, that it’s even gotten them pumped for practices.
“There’s no doubt,” Richt said. “They were anxious to come out and practice, which was nice. I don’t know if they still feel as anxious today, since we’ve gotten into a little bit of a grind. We had a Saturday-Sunday-Tuesday-Wednesday, so this is the fourth [time] where we’ve gotten out here and gotten some work in. I don’t know if they’ll have the same excitement about practicing, but practices are about doing your job and getting things done. You don’t necessarily have to love practice, but you have to do it well.”
Richt affirmed that wide receiver Ahmmon Richards is questionable with a hamstring injury. The hamstring kept him out of Miami’s season opening 41-13 win over Bethune-Cookman.
“Cautious,” Richt said of Richards. “He did have a little bit of competitive repetition, got a few plays against a defender in front of him. I think it was scout team work, a little bit. He looks a little cautious, which is understandable.”
When Richards is ready to return, he will provide a valuable weapon for quarterback Malik Rosier, who is set to earn his third collegiate start (second of 2017). Richards led all FBS freshmen with 934 receiving yards, breaking Michael Irvin’s freshman receiving record at ‘The U.’
Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside has been a revelation over his first three games this season. In the Rockets’ comeback win over Tulsa, Woodside threw for 458 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Miami’s defense will be by far the toughest he’s faced this year.
“He’s outstanding,” said Richt of Woodside. “His fundamentals are great. He knows the system so well. He knows when and where to go with the ball. He’s the kind of guy that, if you pressure him, the ball is going to come out quick to the right guy. The ball placement is great. He’s not unbelievable as far as a runner, but he’s certainly a very good athlete. He’s one of the best in the country for a reason.”
The Associated Press has Miami ranked 14th in the country. They’ve moved up three spots since the start of the season despite only playing one game.
Kickoff for Miami-Toledo is set for 3:30 PM this Saturday, September 23rd from Hard Rock Stadium. You can listen to the game on 560 WQAM.