Maryland tailback D.J. Adams and offensive lineman Cody Blue are out of Monday night's season opener against Miami for violating team rules, leaving a pair of first-year running backs in important backup roles in coach Randy Edsall's first game as Terps coach.
But that's nothing compared to the depth-chart maneuvering that Miami must endure. With eight players suspended by the NCAA for accepting impermissible benefits from a former booster, coach Al Golden must make major adjustments.
The Hurricanes are particularly hurt on defense by the loss of safety Ray-Ray Armstrong, linebacker Sean Spence and others. Armstrong and Spence were both named preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference by media members in July.
"We have a 'no excuses' mentality," Golden said during a media conference call Wednesday. "We're not going to start feeling sorry for ourselves. No one else is."
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris is also out, but he was not a clear starter. Harris was engaged in a competition with Stephen Morris, who beat the Terps, 26-20, in 2010 with a last-minute, 35-yard touchdown pass.
Adams, a redshirt sophomore, had been listed as Maryland's tailback behind Davin Meggett. Blue had been a backup tackle. But both disappeared from the depth chart earlier this week.
"We had a team issue that was involved," Edsall said, without being specific."It's behind us."
Adams scored 11 touchdowns last season, primarily as a short-yardage back. This summer, he abandoned the diamond earring he wore last season and trimmed away most evidence of his blond dye job. He said he wants to prove to coaches that he can play an expanded role.
Without Adams, the remaining backups are redshirt freshman Jeremiah Wilson — a converted defensive back — and true freshman Justus Pickett.
Edsall, hired from Connecticut, and Golden, the former Temple coach, are both making their regular-season debuts with their new teams.
Golden said he called Edsall earlier this week and told him that his depth chart was in flux. It is customary for opposing teams to release their travel roster in advance. Golden said he wanted Edsall to know "that we weren't playing any games" by adjusting the roster on the fly after the NCAA made its decisions.
Edsall — who has coached against Golden a number of times — said he wished the coach well, telling him: "Keep looking forward."
Asked about playing a depleted team, Edsall replied: "Those other young [Miami] men who are going to step in have been very eager and very hungry to play."