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Title Shot Already In Sight For No. 4 Miami

Title Shot Already In Sight For No. 4 Miami

Oct. 18, 2000

AP Sports Writer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Jimmy Johnson briefly parked his blackCorvette onthe University of Miami campus.

He slipped out of it, leaving his wife and dog waiting near the car.Wearingone of his trademark Hawaiian shirts, the former Hurricanes coach scurriedintothe athletic facility for a short talk with current Miami coach Butch Davis.

“He wanted to stop in for a while, say hello, see how things were goingandcongratulate everybody on the win,” Davis said Tuesday. “He also wished usluck. It was really nice.”

Johnson’s visit Monday – only the fourth time he’s been out of theFloridaKeys since retiring in January – was the latest in the dozens of complimentsDavis has received since his Hurricanes beat Florida State on Oct. 7. Hehopesto have many more when No. 4 Miami finishes the season.

The Hurricanes (4-1), who face Temple on Saturday, know that if theywintheir remaining six games they have a good shot at playing in the nationalchampionship game in the Orange Bowl.

“We’re right where we’ve got to be,” safety Ed Reed said. “We’re in theTop 5 and it’s midseason. We’ve never been there before. But we know asquickas it came, it can go. So we still want to move up.”

Miami has won three straight, including the 27-24 victory over theSeminoles. After having a bye week, the ‘Canes returned to practice Tuesdaytobegin final preparations for the Owls (4-3).

But they can’t help thinking about being in the title hunt.

“We have to keep winning, and if we do that then I don’t think they candeny us the national championship game,” safety Al Blades said.

The Hurricanes play at Temple, then home against Louisiana Tech, No. 2Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. They play at Syracuse before ending the seasonathome against Boston College. Miami’s toughest test clearly will come fromthesecond-ranked Hokies on Nov. 11.

While Davis cautions his players about looking ahead, he also knows howimprobable it is to try to prevent them from thinking about playing for atitle- especially after losing so many times in recent years.

“They’re smart enough to know that you have to take care of yourself,”Davis said. “It’s way too early in the season to try to speculate as to howit’s going to turn out. You’re literally flirting with danger if you worryabout anybody other than yourself.”

Most of that, Davis says, is common sense. It’s also something helearnedfrom Johnson, who coached the Hurricanes from 1984-88 and the Dallas Cowboysfrom 1989-93. Davis spent 10 years as an assistant coach and defensivecoordinator under Johnson.

“With six games left to play, you’d be a fool to start talking aboutotherfuture opponents,” Davis said. “As long as you continue to win, the resultswill take care of themselves. You don’t have to lobby the pollsters, youdon’thave to lobby the voters. You’ve just got to win.”