CORAL GABLES -- With eight players seeking reinstatement from the NCAA and a handful more who could face possible suspensions from UM on its own, the Miami Hurricanes could trot out a really young and inexperienced for its season opener Sept. 5 at Maryland.
UM coach Al Golden said last week that in the event of possible suspensions he's confident many of his freshmen would be ready to step up and play. Two of those highly touted freshmen -- defensive end Anthony Chickillo and receiver Phillip Dorsett -- agree.
"We have a great freshman class and if they have to step up they will do it," Chickillo said Thursday. "Guys like Gionni Paul and Phillip Dorsett and Rashawn Scott and Denzel Perryman are fun guys to be around and they come out every day to compete."
Dorsett said Golden has "told everybody to prepare to be the starter." Could Dorsett, a former standout at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, do it?
"Absolutely," Dorsett said. "I'm real comfortable with the [playbook] now. I think I've got it down -- especially since I came in the first summer session."
Chickillo was already running with the first team before the allegations hit. Dorsett said Friday he's been running with the first and second team at two receiver positions -- the Z [flanker] and the X [slot]. He's also competing for playing time on kickoff and punt returns.
"I think I'm having a pretty strong camp," Dorsett said. "I'm just going out there doing everything my coach tells me. I'm not really worried about anything. Coming from St. Thomas I feel like I've been ready, prepared for it. It's not that different. I feel like I can contribute a lot, on special teams, even on the offense. The coaches have done a good job in preparing me so I feel I can contribute a lot."
With allegations made against defensive ends Adewale Ojomo, Olivier Vernon, Marcus Robinson and defensive tackle Marcus Forston, it's more likely the bigger hole for UM will be on the defensive line. Chickillo said he'll be ready to go if needed.
"He is a guy that came in and you would think he is a sophomore already," receiver LaRon Byrd said Thursday of Chickillo. "He is big, he's strong, and he's fast. He already has great technique and I think he will be a key addition to this team."
With allegations surrounding UM and possible sanctions headed the Hurricanes way, it's possible players could transfer out of UM without penalty. Chickillo and Dorsett both said they've not considered that at all and are simply concerned about the upcoming season.
"I have waited my whole life to come here and I am happy to have coach Golden as my coach and I'm happy with the team," Chickillo said. "I love being here. I come here every day ready to work."
Said Dorsett: "I came here to play football. This is my dream school like I said. I don't want to leave."