After its bye, Miami returned to the practice field Monday and began its preparations for Saturday's matchup against Savannah State.
The Tigers aren't a powerhouse program and Miami's the heavy favorite, meaning plenty of Hurricanes reserves should see playing time this week.
That's one of the reasons Hurricanes coach Al Golden stressed that part of the focus during the bye was pushing young players to perform in practice. When he released his depth chart Sunday night, some of those players were listed as potential co-starters or co-reserves.
That increased depth is a luxury Golden and the Hurricanes didn't have a season ago, and after Monday's practice he said he's enjoying watching players not only compete for starting jobs, but push each other for backup roles.
"I think there's some young guys that stepped up and responded to the challenge," Golden said. "We got after them pretty good. Maybe at some positions guys are fighting for the starting jobs, but there's probably more jobs where guys are fighting between 2 and 3, which we haven't had so that's good to see. We're finally starting to get those fights between 2 and 3, and 1 and 2, instead of just 1 and 2."
Golden also said part of this week's goals include making sure the Hurricanes remain focused on what they have to do to improve, instead of focusing on Savannah State's struggles. (The Tigers come in after a 1-2 start, have been outscored 163-39 in their three games, and have totaled just 52 rushing yards...after going 1-10 last season).
"It can be a problem, but hopefully we learned from last week," Golden said. "Two weeks ago, we were just worried about ourselves. It has to be the same thing. We can't just do it when we want to do it. We have to be [ourselves] all the time. That's a great challenge for our leadership and our team, to be the same team consistently this week."
More news from Monday's practice:
Golden said that wide receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder) and offensive lineman Danny Isidora (foot) could return around the time of Miami's matchup with North Carolina on Oct. 17, but he said that time frame could be as early as the Georgia Tech game (Oct. 5).
Golden added that safety Deon Bush (hernia) continues improving.
"We'll see where he is today," Golden said. "He was really good early last week, and was a little sore Thursday. We'll see how he came back on film today. I think he was better...clearly, he's a guy that has a lot of experience and we'd like to see him come back and help us."
And finally, Miami's game at South Florida on Sept. 28 is slated for a noon kickoff. The game will be broadcast on either ABC, ESPN, or ESPNU.
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