UM Coach Al Golden was bombarded with questions about the new depth chart today.
Golden insisted the depth chart is not used as a motivational tool.
"I’m not one of those ploy guys. It is what it is,'' Golden said. "The problem is we have guys who think it’s something that it isn’t. ‘Oh, they’re going to play me anyway.’ It’s really not. As coaches, this is practice – what? – 13. We’re settling in now. If guys aren’t ready by Saturday, if they don’t make a move by Saturday, it’s over. After that, it’s time to move. We’re not really into playing games. You guys ask a lot of questions about a lot of guys that, really, we coach the guys that are out here everyday and the guys that are dependable and reliable. That’s who we want to play with."
As far as Stephen Morris goes, Jedd Fisch emphatically indicated, when asked about the opener at Boston College, that Morris would be the starter for that game. "Yes,'' Fisch asked if he'd be the guy against BC. "He's our starting quarterback.''
Both Golden and Fisch were effusive about Morris, while also praising backup Ryan Williams.
(I must say, from my perspective, both quarterbacks are a pleasure to deal with. Nice guys. Respectful. Good attitudes. And Williams has really demonstrated a lot of class in this whole competition. Impressive.)
Some Golden notables from Tuesday:
*On defensive end Kelvin Cain not being on the depth chart:
"He's not. He hasn't participated in over a week. Hopefully he'll fight his way back here today. Some of those guys need to make a move. We're running out of time. Kelvin was injured, yes." (NOTE: Cain was at practice Tuesday.)
*On freshman Gabe Terry, listed as second-team OLB behind Thurston Armbrister:
"Gabe Terry is going to be a football player. He doesn't know whether the ball is stuffed or pumped, but he flies around, man. He plays with energy, [is] relentless in pursuit. He needs to start to understand and be consistent and learn the defense and always be in the right positon, but with those characteristics, we certainly will find ways to get him on special teams and then as he grows his role will increase. ...This guy flies around. I'm not worried about his weight. I'm just worried about whether or not he learns the defense and is where he needs to be and becomes reliable.''
* On Seantrel Henderson not being on the depth chart at right tackle. (NOTE: Henderson was at practice in full pads Tuesday.)
"That's all it is is a fact. He has not practiced yet.If you can even imagine. He's practiced whatever.. We're going into today 13 -- he has not practiced yet. He is going to a funeral. What the travel plans are, I don't know. It's either going to be late tonight or tomorrow from what I understand.''
"He's got to get going. The issue is not really about how I feel, the issue is that there's not as many opportunities anymore to compete. If they are going to make it it's going to be because somebody either screws up or somebody gets injured, and now you'll get your opportunity. It's hard for me right now to say that Seantrel with no practices can perform better than Ereck Flowers and Jermaine Johnson. It's hard for anybody to say that. He needs to go perform. Flowers is playing really well right now, so well that he's beating out Jermaine Johnson, who's having a great camp.''
QUICK NOTE: UM informed us that the original depth chart distributed last night had an error in it. Freshman Dequan Ivery is not a first-team defensive tackle. Ivery is actually third string behind starter Darius Smith and backup Curtis Porter. On the other side, Olsen Pierre is first team, followed by Luther Robinson OR Jalen Grimble.
* Only five defensive (and one special teams) players on Tuesday wore the black jerseys designated for first-team players: P Dalton Botts, DE Anthony Chickillo, DE Shayon Green, CB Brandon McGee, LB Ramon Buchanan -- and freshman CB Tracy Howard, who is listed under McGee on depth chart.
* Linebackers have been ailing. Eddie Johnson had been out, as had first-team OLB Thurston Armbrister (finger in eye, according to Golden) and Gionni Paul (knee) and now, the newest injury is to Raphael Kirby, who previously was behind Denzel Perryman in the middle but is not longer on the depth chart. Golden said he "got banged up in the scrimmage,'' but did not elaborate. "As soon as we find out what his status is, we'll release that. That's all I can say right now.'' Doesn't sound optimistic.
Armbrister returned to the practice field Tuesday, and Eddie Johnson, now not on the depth chart, was wearing a yellow (limited) jersey. Gionni was neither in a red nor yellow jersey, and he was participating, but limping pretty badly. Jimmy Gaines (foot) returned for the scrimmage, and now he's listed behind Denzel in the middle. Basically, the position that defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio sounded pretty secure about last week needs some healthy bodies back.
*Defensive end Anthony Chickillo was seen walking off the field by a trainer, then being examined under a tent, during the media's 15 minutes of practice viewing. Brian "The Beast'' London @allcanesradio said it appeared that UM people were examining his neck, head -- or what Randy Shannon might call "upper extremities.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
LOOK BELOW FOR NEWEST DEPTH CHART