Miami Hurricanes officially without scholarship TE versus Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24: Dane Jackson #11 of the Pittsburgh Panthers knocks down a pass to Mike Harley #3 of the Miami Hurricanes on November 24, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24: Dane Jackson #11 of the Pittsburgh Panthers knocks down a pass to Mike Harley #3 of the Miami Hurricanes on November 24, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

It was announced on Sunday that Miami Hurricanes Freshmen tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory are out for the season finale against Pittsburgh Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Jordan was injured on the first play on Saturday and Mallory was knocked out shortly before halftime in the Miami Hurricanes win over Virginia Tech. Canes Head Coach Mark Richt made the announcement during his Sunday postgame teleconference with reporters.

Jordan’s ankle rolled under a Virginia Tech defender on the first play of the game and he did not return. Mallory suffered a knee injury shortly before halftime against the Hokies. He came back to the sideline for the second half wearing a knee brace. He was seen riding a stationary bike but never went back in the game.

The absence of a tight end seemed to push Richt to become more creative in his play calling. The Hurricanes utilized the spread and often went four wide in the second half. That seemed to open up the Miami offense. Richt called frequent bubble screens and an occasional screen pass to the running backs.

The Hurricanes had 157 yards and averaged 4.13 yards per play in the first half on Saturday. Miami had 182 yards in the second half and averaged 6.5 yards per play. The Hurricanes also had a 51-yard punt return for a touchdown from Jeff Thomas. Richt spoke about Jordan and Mallory’s injuries.

"“Brevin has an ankle injury and he will not participate this week…and Will hurt his knee and we don’t expect him to play this week, either.”"

Although Jordan and Mallory will definitely be out on Saturday, Richt expects them to return for the Miami Hurricanes bowl game according to David Wilson of the Miami Herald. Richt spoke of Jordan first and then Mallory.

"“We feel pretty confident he’ll be able to make it for the bowl game. We’re hopeful for that…very hopeful that he’ll be in the bowl.”"

Jordan had X-rays on Saturday. Mallory and Jordan were both expected to have MRIs this week. Richt didn’t mention during his teleconference if the MRIs had been performed on Sunday. Jordan and Mallory become the third and fourth Miami Hurricanes tight ends injured this season.

Junior Michael Irvin II was first on the depth chart before suffering a torn MCL during August training camp. That ended Irvin’s 2018 season. Irvin’s injury was followed by a season-ending knee injury to Sophomore tight end Brian Polendey in September.

Jordan has had an outstanding Freshman season living up to his billing as the top tight end in the Class of 2018.  He is second on the team with 30 receptions and four touchdown catches and third with 275 yards receiving.

Mallory was on his way to a productive afternoon before injuring his knee. He entered Saturday’s game with two receptions for nine yards. Mallory had three for 28 yards in the first half after Jordan went out. Richt was forced to abandon his traditional pro-style offense without a tight end. He spoke about it on Sunday.

"“We went from two tight ends to zero and we had a lot of two-tight end sets…Almost everything in our offense has a tight end. We had to go full receiver with one back.It was really just simple zone plays, and the ability here and there to run with the quarterback. It was mostly just zone, zone, zone, and maybe pull the ball and throw a bubble [screen] here and there. And go fast.”"

Miami’s lone man standing at tight end is walk-on Nichols Ducheine. Ducheine did not play Saturday against Virginia Tech. The redshirt Sophomore made his career debut against Savannah State earlier this season.

In the postgame on WQAM on Saturday Richt said that they felt Ducheine wasn’t ready but that if they had put him in he probably would have been fine. The Canes are going to have to be creative with their formations versus Pittsburgh.

"“We’ll just have to be in different personnel groups, obviously…We’ve got Ducheine, who is the walk-on tight end that we could use in some of the sets that we use tight ends.How much of that we use, I don’t know. There’s other ways to line up. We did it last night — or yesterday afternoon and evening — so we’ll figure out what’s going to be the best plan.”"

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The moves that will force Richt and Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown to become more creative should appease the Hurricanes fanbase. Richt had been repeatedly criticized for his play calling throughout Miami’s four losing streak that ended Saturday.