The Hurricanes’ 2015 season opener against Bethune-Cookman was a resounding success, but it came at a steep price.
On Wednesday afternoon, head coach Al Golden ruled wide receivers Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios out for Friday’s matchup with Florida Atlantic (FAU).
In the first quarter of last Saturday’s 45-0 victory, Coley limped off the field with a left hamstring injury following an awkward hit. Just a few plays later, Berrios followed him into the locker room after injuring his left knee on an attempted catch over the middle.
With the loss of the two playmakers, the Canes turned to Rashawn Scott as the No. 1 wide receiver option. After missing the entire 2014 season with a shoulder injury, the redshirt senior had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in the opener.
Despite Scott’s monster game, no other receiver caught more than two passes against Bethune-Cookman. In a hostile environment against a much tougher team Friday night, Miami (1-0) will need all hands on deck to get the victory.
“It’s a next man up mentality,” offensive coordinator James Coley said about the mindset of his wide receiver core. “We’ve got a lot of guys that came into training camp that worked really hard to give themselves a chance to play. We’re looking for Tyre [Brady] to step up, [Lawrence] Cager to come in there and play well and Darrell Langham has to perform too.”
Players such as Brady, Cager and Langham, who haven’t caught a pass in college football, will be thrown into the fire and expected to make big contributions Friday night. With that uncertainty being inserted into the rotation, even more pressure will be heaped on the shoulders of sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Losing Coley and Berrios is a bit unsettling, but if the Canes watched tape on FAU from last weekend, they’ll have some confidence heading into the game. In their season opener, the Owls allowed 618 total yards and 47 points against Tulsa, a team that finished 2-10 last season.
While the Canes are struggling to find healthy receivers, this FAU (0-1) defense may have a hard time stopping anyone.
The Hurricanes definitely paid a price for the 45-0 win against Bethune-Cookman. The team’s just hoping that price doesn’t result in a loss Friday night in Boca Raton.