The second and final fall scrimmage takes place Friday night, after which Hurricanes coach Al Golden has indicated the final depth chart for the opener will be be decided. Friday's scrimmage, closed and under the lights at Cobb Stadium (adjacent to Greentree Field), will simulate a real game as much as possible -- Orange vs. White.
"It's time to cut the cord with some of these guys,'' Golden said. "It can't be about yelling from the sideline. They're going to have crowd noise and music. They've got to learn to signal. They've got to be independent thinkers out there, work collectively in terms of safeties to corners, safeties to linebackers, linebackers to the front.
"On offense, just getting the signal, playing fast and we'll see who can play.''
Golden said there will be 40-50 plays with each group.
*** Golden stressed after the first scrimmage that tackling and completion percentage must improve. "We've got to get the tackling squared away -- fast, because that will rear its head in the opener. You don't want to be a day late on that. A bad tackling performance in an opener can destroy you.''
Golden on his disappointment in the completion percentage:
"There's no excuse for the completion percentage to be the way it is. With the experience that we have, with the protection we're getting and the type of quarterback we have leading us, there's no excuse for that. So, that was disappointing. And we've got to get it fixed."
Said quarterback Stephen Morris on Thursday: "I definitely think that's true. We definitely need to improve on completion percentage. The best way to do that is to take what the defense is giving you and not forcing anything."
*** Morris included in his lists of "wants'' for Friday's scrimmage: "No stupid hits. No cheap shots." Overly eager freshman rush end Al-Quadin Muhammad got a bit too aggressive on a sack of Morris in Sunday's scrimmage.
Universal rule: You don't hit the quarterback if he's on your team.
How hard did he hit Morris? "I was just stepping up in the pocket and trying to escape and he just caught me on my jersey and kind of pulled me down,'' Morris said. "Nothing big."
It was to coaches.
"Did you explain to [Muhammad] you were on his team?'' a reporter jokingly asked.
"I don't think I did,'' Morris said with a smile, insinuating that coaches took care of the situation.
*** Golden said he's "worried about everything right now. We have a long way to go between now and game week."
*** Golden said redshirt freshman quarterback Preston Dewey, who has not arrived at UM, "will be with us shortly and we're respecting his time and his privacy.''
Last week, our Barry Jackson wrote in his Buzz Column: "We hear quarterback Preston Dewey, who hasn’t reported to the team, has a back injury that will sideline him indefinitely. It would be surprising if he ever takes a snap for UM.''
*** Another running back and new transfer, listed as 5-8, 198-pound junior DeAndre Johnson, has joined the Hurricanes roster from the University of Iowa. He is a Miamian and played with Stephen Morris at Monsignor Pace. In 2011 as a redshirt freshman at Iowa, Johnson ran for 79 yards on 18 carries in four games. He did not compete in 2012 and Golden said he believes he's eligible to play this season.
"I like DeAndre,'' Golden said. "He's got a lot to learn in terms of how we do it here in the offense but he wants to be a great teammate, he wants to compete, he's trying to get into special teams. He's got the requisite speed, he's got a good build, 196 or 198 pounds. Guys like that are awessome to have on the team. They can always play a role for us."
*** Rashawn Scott wore a red, non-contact jersey Wednesday, but Golden didn't act like the injury was anything significant. "Maybe a foot,'' the coach said Thursday. "Unless it's really significant those guys have got to work it through with the trainers."
Scott walked by reporters, on his way to practice, without a red or yellow jersey, but it was unknown at that point if he would be limited for the session
*** The Canes practiced on the intramural field Thursday, when a light rain fell intermittently, with the early-morning start being delayed by about 20 minutes because of a lightning alarm. The media were not allowed to do any viewing of practice.
*** Greentree Field was torn up by Sunday's scrimmage and previous practices, and the divots were being filled in.
"We're going to try to keep moving around,'' Golden said, not mentioning the field condition.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN