Junior Santonio Thomas, who missed all but two games last season with a torn pectoral muscle and is expected to be a key member of the rotation at defensive tackle, missed practice today after undergoing what Coker said was ‘minor surgery'. Redshirt freshman Baraka Atkins, a candidate to start at defensive end, was also held out of practice with a pulled calf muscle.
Coker would not discuss the extent of the surgery performed on Thomas.
"I can't say but I expect him back for the season opener," Coker said.
Defensive end John Square (shoulder surgery) should return ‘soon' according to Coker, while senior receiver Jason Geathers, who is still nursing a hamstring injury, continues to have his playing time guarded. Geathers was removed from 11-on-11 drills about an hour into practice and was being checked out by trainers on the sideline.
Sophomore receiver Roscoe Parrish, who underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery on Monday, appeared at practice on crutches and declined comment. Coker expects Parrish to be ready for the season opener.
"I expect him to play in the first game but we'll have to see," said Coker. "He's a lighter player so that might help his recovery time."
Freshman kicker Jon Peattie also sat out with a pulled groin.
Coker praised the progress made by the offensive line, especially against the pass rush on nine-on-nine drills.
"I think they are getting better and better, it is just going to take a lot of work because that is a hard position to play. They are seeing a lot of different things from our defensive line and our defensive line is pretty good."
The team has a ‘limited number of plays' scrimmage scheduled for tomorrow's 3:30 p.m. practice although Coker said it could be scratched if there are any signs of inclement weather. The Hurricanes will also practice at 8:30 a.m.
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