D'Onofrio says he doesn't hold grudges; Luther apologizes; plus other Canes/Cain notes from Saturday
Hurricanes defensive tackle Luther Robinson, whose father took to the radio airwaves earlier this week and accused UM coach Al Golden of favoring his own recruits over the players former coach Randy Shannon brought in, said Saturday he's apologized to his head coach and his teammates and is looking to move forward.
“First, I want to start off by apologizing for what he said,” Robinson told reporters following Saturday morning’s practice. “He was looking out for me, not really looking out for the team. I just told him that he was wrong for doing it and that we need to cut that out.”
Robinson said his father also called Golden and apologized.
Asked about Robinson's father's phone call to WQAM and the Joe Rose show earlier this week, Golden said: "That's about as improper as it can get. It's as simple as that.
"[Parents can call] position coaches, coordinators, head coach," Golden went on to add. "Again, there should be no problem on our team because every player gets graded on every play, every day. So there's constant communication. So there should be no communication breakdown in terms of evaluating a player each day and what they do."
Robinson, who has nine tackles in the seven games he’s played in, is currently listed as a co-backup to starter Olsen Pierre. Earlier this season, Robinson was suspended for the Kansas State game for getting into an argument with an assistant coach.
Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said Robinson averages about 20 to 30 snaps a game and has consistently been among the group of six defensive tackles who play every game. Asked if a parent's actions could affect their child's playing time, D'Onofrio said "it's ultimately up to Al to decide."
"There's 105 guys on our team -- 50 on my side of the ball. Things come about," D'Onofrio said. "I'm not a grudge guy. I don't hold a grudge. I just want the guys to get better. At the end of the day, we want to improve them, coach them hard, tell them what they're doing wrong. If they let us down in some capacity I'm not the type of guy to hold a grudge. They're 18, 19, 20 years old and you have to develop them and help them become better people and those type of things. Otherwise, it doesn't really get you anywhere.
"At the end of the day college football coaches want to win games and whoever gives us the best chance to win, we certainly want them on the field -- provided they do everything we ask of them in practice. I don't know what the numbers would be, but we're definitely playing plenty of guys who were here before we got here."
MORE NEWS AND NOTES FROM SATURDAY
> Golden said there’s a chance junior defensive end Kelvin Cain, who has not been listed on UM's roster since Thursday, could return to the team. Golden said he’s spoken to Cain and his mother several times including as recently as Saturday morning. But Cain, Golden said, has "got to sort through some things and we'll go from there."
“Sure there’s a chance,” Golden said of Cain re-joining the team. “But I just want to make sure we're clear, he stepped away for a period of time, left the team for personal reasons and we're trying to work through it right now.”
> Third-string running back Eduardo Clements, who sustained an undisclosed season-ending knee injury against Florida State, was at practice Saturday to work as a coach with his teammates.
UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Clements, the team's third down specialist, was averaging about 12 offensive snaps a game. Fisch said those will now be split by senior Mike James and new third-string running back Dallas Crawford, who continues to work primarily as the scout team quarterback. Golden said that as of now he doesn't want to have to burn the redshirt of freshman running back Danny Dillard.
> Golden confirmed sophomore linebacker Gionni Paul, the team's sixth-leading tackler, was suspended for the Florida State game. Paul, who has 31 tackles in five games, is now listed as the third string middle linebacker behind junior Jimmy Gaines and freshman Raphael Kirby.
> Freshman running back Duke Johnson, who sprained his right ankle in the second half of the Florida State loss, said it feels a lot better now and he expects to be full-go against Virginia Tech on Thursday. He still is battling through the turf toe injury.
> Quarterback Stephen Morris said his ankle was very sore after the Florida State game, but he's feeling a lot better. "I'm good," Morris said. "Still doing rehab on it, still want to strengthen it, but the ankle is feeling is great. It should be back to 100 [percent soon]."
Although there were reports on television during the FSU game that Morris also injured his hip, Morris said they were false. "I don't know where that hip story came from," he said. "What happened was my tights were too tight. I was just trying to have them cut it and I guess the TV saw them working on it and thought my hip was hurt."
> Golden said reports/rumors of a new injury to linebacker Denzel Perryman are incorrect. "He's had the same ankle for five weeks now," Golden said. "We're trying to get him healthy and in the game."