Miami already knew it was going to be have to replace its all-time leading rusher in Duke Johnson. Now, the ‘Canes will be forced to deal with replacing one of his prime replacements.
An injury originally described as minor turned out to be much more severe, with the football program confirming Sunday night that Gus Edwards will miss the entire 2015 season because of a foot issue. The school declined to reveal the specific nature of the injury.
“Gus worked extremely hard for the last nine months to prepare for this moment,” head coach Al Golden said in a statement. “He set a high standard and did a great job leading and being unselfish. We are tremendously disappointed for him, but we will be there with him on the road to recovery and anxiously await his return.”
Edwards was third on the team in rushing last season with 349 yards. His six rushing touchdowns were second to Johnson’s 10 in 2014. He was expected to start and shoulder a significant amount of the running game load.
The good news for the Hurricanes is last year’s second-leading rusher, Joseph Yearby (509 yards), returns. Also on scholarship are Trayone Gray (24 yards, one touchdown as a true freshman last season) and four-star 2015 signee Mark Walton. Yearby and Walton are listed as the co-starters on the depth chart released the same time as the Edwards injury news.
Miami takes the field this afternoon for its annual spring game, and the Hurricanes will do so without a player who’ll be expected to be a key piece of their 2015 offensive puzzle.
Shortly before the game kicked off, Miami announced that Joseph Yearby has been suspended for the spring finale. According to the team, it was for a violation of unspecified team rules.
According to Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, the suspension involves allegedly breaking curfew so that the running back could be in attendance at a life-altering event:
I was told by my source, but not by UM, that Yearby was suspended for breaking curfew last night.
I was told he was there for the birth of his baby, but I did not have that confirmed and I don’t know when the baby was born.
It seems incomprehensible that Yearby would be suspended for attending the birth of his child, but we’ll just have to await Al Golden‘s postgame talk with the media and see if he offers any further explanation to the report.
Last season as a true freshman, Yearby was second on the team with 509 yards rushing. He also added eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield.
With Duke Johnson‘s early departure for the NFL, Yearby will get the opportunity to be the bell cow for the Hurricanes’ ground game.
UPDATED 2:52 p.m. ET: And now a little bit more of the rest of the real story.
Yearby did indeed become a new father recently… over the winter. Becoming a new parent, however, had nothing to do with the suspension; instead; it was breaking curfew last night that sidelined the back.
Today the Miami Hurricanes will begin spring practices. It will be the 12th time the Hurricanes have done so since leaving the Big East for the ACC. And for the 12th spring one of the questions sure to be asked at some point in the perhaps not-so-distant future will be whether or not this will finally be the year Miami plays for an ACC championship.
At the time Miami left the Big East for the ACC, it was widely assumed the addition of the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech would bring a balance to the power of the football conference regularly dominated by Florida State. While the Hokies have more than held up their end of the bargain through the years, Miami has yet to even reach the ACC Championship Game, never mind winning it. Since joining the ACC, Miami has finished as high as second place in its division just four times. Miami’s move to the ACC 12 years later has been a disappointment in terms of on-field football production, and there is no dispute about that. Which is why this spring Miami fans and columnists will be wondering if this can finally be the year Miami can make a run to the top of what could be another wide-open season in the ACC Coastal Division.
Before even bothering with the routine “Is Miami back” or “Is this finally the year for Miami” questions, Golden and his coaching staff have some more important questions to answer in spring practices.
Miami appears to have some reasons for optimism moving into 2015, which will be the critical fifth season on the job for head coach Al Golden. That’s right, Golden is entering his fifth season at Miami. This could be his best yet, but stop me if you have heard this before about Miami. I tend to forgive Golden and Miami for the first two seasons because an NCAA cloud of uncertainty floated above the program before ultimately turning out nothing but bad looks for the NCAA. Regardless, Miami may need to show some improvement in order to ensure Golden’s job will be safe.
Miami went 6-7 last season and the Hurricanes lose running back Duke Johnson, which should lead to a nice competition at running back this spring. Miami also has to replace its top three receivers and fill three spots on the offensive line. One solid position on offense though will be quarterback, with Brad Kayaa giving many following Miami reason for optimism. Kayaa passed for over 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns as a freshman and could be one of the top offensive players in the ACC this season if all goes to plan. Miami improved defensively in 2014 but also loses some key players to open some competition in the spring.
Most often during National Signing Day week the flurry of assistant coaches hopping jobs doesn’t come until after Wednesday. This one was a little different, though, as Randy Edsall reportedly dipped into his past by plucking former assistant Terry Richardson off the NFL’s unemployment line to coach Maryland’s running backs.
The move was reported by Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated on Tuesday evening but hinted at by FootballScoop a week ago.
Richardson spent two seasons coach running backs for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was fired by new offensive coordinator Greg Olson last week. Prior to that, he spent two seasons at Miami, where he helped sign the program’s all-time leading rusher in Duke Johnson.
Richardson previously served as Edsall’s running backs coach at Connecticut for the duration of his term in Storrs, helping the Huskies rise from a sub-.500 Atlantic-10 team to Big East champions. Among Richardson’s former pupils are NFL running backs Jordan Todman and Donald Brown.
Maryland ranked 111th nationally in rushing offense and 98th in yards per carry in 2014. Outgoing quarterback C.J. Brown actually led the team in rushing, and rising senior runner Brandon Ross led the running backs with 85 carries for 419 yards and four touchdowns.
Richardson replaces Andre Powell, who joined Pat Narduzzi‘s staff at Pittsburgh.
Miami is not only losing all-time leading rusher Duke Johnson for the 2015 season, the ‘Canes are also losing one of the offensive linemen blocking for his replacement. Junior offensive tackle Ereck Flowers declared for the NFL Draft on Monday.
Flowers started in 11 games this season, paving the way for an offense that averaged 180.4 rushing yards per game (50th nationally), 430.3 total yards (48th) and 29.2 points (64th).
“I could not be happier for Ereck and his family as he prepares to live out his life-long dream of playing in the National Football League,” head coach Al Golden said in a statement. “Ereck has made a lot of sacrifices to put himself in this position, he loves football and the competition. I am really proud of him for the maturity and professionalism he displayed throughout this entire process – he is truly making an educated decision and one that is best for he and his family. We wish him nothing but great health, longevity and success.”
Flowers was named an All-ACC performer by the league’s coaches, the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and Phil Steele.