Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
With 60-point underdog Savannah State on tap for Saturday Hurricanes coach Al Golden figures to get plenty of his young players some work this week. But who will Golden and his staff try to keep out of the game to keep them on target for a redshirt at season's end?
"We're trying to hold [fullback] Walter Tucker, [cornerback] Ray Lewis, [offensive lineman] Sunny [Odogwu] and [quarterback] Kevin Olsen," Golden said Wednesday after another soggy practice in Coral Gables. "Obviously [offensive lineman] Hunter Knighton is out [with an injury] so we're redshirting him. We're playing [receiver] Stacy [Coley], [tight end] Stan [Dobard], [running back] Gus [Edwards], [offensive lineman Alex] Gall and I think everybody else has a role."
The Hurricanes added 14 high school seniors and prep school players to their roster in their last recruiting class and two junior college signees. So far the four Golden mentioned targeted for redshirts and Gall are the only players who haven't seen playing time yet.
"This will be his first go," Golden said. "We've been spending two weeks getting him ready for this. We realized we didn't have enough depth to push through the season after the opener. We've been pushing Alex for the last 2 1/2 weeks. He'll be ready for his opportunity this weekend."
As good as it feels to get a few kids redshirted to help build depth, Golden says the Canes "aren't out of the woods yet."
"As you guys have indicated many times, our scholarship numbers are not where they need to be," Golden said. "Therefore were not as deep as we want to be at all positions. But we can afford to redshirt some guys and I feel like we are building depth. But we got to be careful. It can't be a fool's gold depth.
"We got to understand that on the d-line we're top heavy. And we need help quickly. We need help at mid-year at that position for instance. Wide receiver we have on scholarship and we have six healthy. That's a bad number. We need help at wide out. I can go on down the line, but those are the two areas in addition to the offensive line I think you guys know are really focal points for us in recruiting right now."
MORE NEWS AND NOTES
> Golden, who missed Tuesday's press conference because he was feeling ill according to UM, said Wednesday he was feeling better. "I hope my energy [is contagious] but nothing else," he quipped.
> Safety Deon Bush, who said Tuesday he was still feeling sore, apparently was checked again medically on Monday, Golden said, and obviously cleared to continue practice. Bush had off-season sports hernia surgery and hasn't played yet, but is hoping to get in on Saturday.
"Good week so far," Golden said. "We doubled back and made sure medically that he was really good on Monday just to make sure he felt good and had piece of mind. He's really had a good week. I'm anxious to see Deon continue to get better this week and get his conditioning where it needs to be and move forward."
> Even though his team is a heavy favorite this weekend, Golden said the focus he keeps stressing to players is self improvement. He said there was plenty Florida exposed to keep UM busy the past two weeks. As for bench marks he would like to see the offense hit -- 45 percent conversions on third down and 80 percent scoring on red-zone visits.
> Of facing an FCS Tigers team this week, Golden said: "There is a big disparity going from an SEC opponent to this week. What I'm trying to teach is that it really doesn't what the other team does. At the end of the day it's about us executing."
Golden said the fact Miami is even playing Savannah State is just part of the "system we live in right now."
"Nobody was sending us sympathy cards last year when we played three of our first four on the road at Manhattan [Kansas] and at Soldier [Field in Chicago]," Golden said. "That's the system we're in. I would like for it all to be uniform. I'm sure most coaches would also. Right now all I care about is getting each individual player better."
The Miami Hurricanes are favored at home by 60 points against Savannah State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Per @RJinVegas, it is only the third recorded 60+ spread in college football since 1980.
So, just wondering: Would you take that bet?
(Note: FSU was a 65-point fave over Savannah State last year. The Seminoles won 55-0 on Sept. 8th, 2012.)
Also, how many points do you think Canes have to score, regardless of spread, to stay around where they are in the rankings? Obviously, much of that is dependent on what others do, but was just thinking about it.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN