Players battle injury bug in spring practice

Injuries and depth issues continue to plague Miami Football Head Coach Larry Coker during spring practice.

The team has to forge ahead with the players it has.

Coker said he was happy with the squad’s overall performance in Tuesday’s practice.

“The scrimmage was really good,” Coker said. “The defense flew around and made a lot of plays.”

The defense is currently missing a couple notable players. One of them, Brandon Meriweather, will miss the rest of spring after having minor surgery to repair his left shoulder. Meriweather is expected to make a full recovery by the beginning of fall practice.

Another absent Hurricane for more than a week is Willie Williams. Williams was sent home by team trainers from Saturday’s practice with a 102-degree fever.

“It sets you back a lot,” Coker said. “It’s amazing when you don’t practice, you don’t get better.”

Coker said the cornerback position is wide open and he likes what he has seen from Glenn Sharpe, Randy Philips and Bruce Johnson. These three are the frontrunners to take over for Kelly Jennings and Marcus Maxey.

The defense continues to beat the offense more often than not, which is typical in the spring, especially with a team implementing a new scheme.

As for the offense, Coker said he is impressed by the size and speed of Andrew Johnson.

“Andrew may be our fastest back,” Coker said. “He’s our biggest back. We haven’t had a guy that could go the distance since Willis McGahee. I think Andrew could be that guy.”

With Tyrone Moss still recovering from knee surgery, Charlie Jones continues to be the main option.

“Everyone is counting on me to come over and take the load from Tyrone,” Jones said. “I just try to come to practice everyday and make something happen.”

One of the men that will make the running backs’ success possible this season is Reggie Youngblood, who continues to be a popular figure in camp because of how highly touted he was out of high school.

Youngblood said he is confident this year because of a decision by the coaching staff not to red shirt him last year, but rather give him valuable game experience, including about 30 snaps in the game at Temple.

“That was real big, being able to get the nerves out and playing with the first team,” Youngblood said.

Left tackle is often thought of as one of the most important positions in football because it protects the quarterback’s blind side. Youngblood said he is not as concerned with the pressure though.

“I don’t think there is pressure,” Youngblood said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I feel like I’m just a good player and I’m going to let my ability show.”

Denis Brown can be contacted at