When Travis Homer talks, the entire room listens.
It’s not because Homer gives great anecdotes or thoroughly explains the strengths and weaknesses that come with facing a team playing a Cover 2 defense to stop the option.
Homer’s words grab attention because the Miami Hurricanes’ sophomore running back is naturally quiet. But on a Hurricanes team that has lost several key offensive weapons, Homer’s impact on the team’s success this season echos loudly.
“The coaches are going to sit there and prepare you well for whenever you need to do it, and the players were just ready (to contribute),” Homer, an Oxbridge Academy graduate, said Thursday. “(Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Thomas Brown) prepared us running backs to be able to go at any time, so I really just tip my hat to him, just being able to do what he did with all of us.”
A year after only carrying the ball seven times for 44 yards, Homer enters Saturday’s Orange Bowl against No. 6 Wisconsin (12-1) just 98 yards shy of 1,000 on the season. No. 10 Miami (10-2) has had at least one 1,000 yard rusher each season since 2014.
Star junior running back Mark Walton was lost for the season with an ankle injury during a 24-20 win over Florida State on Oct. 7. In Miami’s next game, a win over Georgia Tech, Homer had 20 carries for a career-high 170 yards and a touchdown.
From Oct. 14 to Nov. 18 — as Miami rattled off six more wins — Homer had 642 yards and four touchdowns
“Mark Walton was our best player by far, voted MVP of our team last year, and that’s kind of what he had from a leadership standpoint (that) was a huge loss for us,” Brown said. “But a phenomenal job by Travis Homer kind of getting ready and trying to pick up that role.”
In a media session that saw offensive lineman Kc McDermott (Palm Beach Central) play with a fidget spinner and wide receiver Braxton Berrios relay a story of signing a ball for a young fan, Homer kept his answers clipped and quiet.
What Homer will talk about — and with evident pride — is his home state. Homer continues to openly represent Oxbridge and took a moment to compliment former high school rival and FAU All-American Devin Singletary (American Heritage) for his record-setting season with the Owls. Singletary leads Division I with 32 rushing touchdowns and finished 80 yards shy of 2,000 on the season.
“Yeah, I saw a little bit how he was doing. He was doing real great up there,” Homer said.
Homer didn’t say much about his plan for facing the Badgers on Saturday night. But as a local product playing in Florida’s signature bowl, Homer can smile and allow himself to give one expanded answer.
“I kind of see the Orange Bowl as like our bowl because it’s hometown, home stadium, all that, our crowd,” Homer said. “I think it will just be good for the community.”