Miami's Goals Extend Beyond Beating Seminoles, Hokies
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Even after double-figures losses last year toFlorida State and Virginia Tech, Miami coach Butch Davis refused to acknowledgeany pressure to beat them in 2000.
“There are a lot of teams that haven’t beaten Florida State and VirginiaTech in recent years,” Davis said before this season.
He never wanted to make a big deal about it, not wanting his team to placetoo much emphasis on playing the two opponents. Davis repeatedly said his 0-10record against the two teams didn’t bother him, either.
Now, after becoming the only coach to beat the Seminoles and Hokies thisseason, Davis’ stance remains unchanged.
“We talked about it in the locker room – those were not the goals of theseason,” Davis said Sunday, a day after his team’s 41-21 win over then-No. 2Virginia Tech. “Those were steps along the way to the goal. They may have beenbigger steps than some of the other steps.”
The No. 2 Hurricanes (7-1, 4-0 Big East) are a lot closer to their goalsafter the win that moved them up a spot. With games against Pittsburgh,Syracuse and Boston College remaining, Miami is in a position to win its firstconference title since 1996 and possibly play for the national championship.
“I watched it all my life, so to finally be a part of a team that is goingout and winning ball games, it’s like a dream come true,” said safety AlBlades, whose older brothers, Bennie and Brian, also played for Miami.
“This feels magical,” defensive tackle Damione Lewis said. “It feels likeI accomplished what I came here to accomplish. We have three more steps. We’renot done yet.”
The ‘Canes played a nearly perfect game against the Hokies, Davis said. Theygained 466 yards, didn’t allow a sack and had just one turnover – a fumble bypunter Freddie Capshaw late in the fourth quarter.
The defense, meanwhile, forced three turnovers and had a sack. Ed Reed hadtwo interceptions and Jamaal Green had three tackles for losses.
It was an all-around performance similar to what the Hurricanes accomplishedlast month in their 27-24 win over Florida State.
“Coach Davis has never let us lose our focus,” linebacker Dan Morgan said.”You want to give credit, give it all to him.”
Davis was nonchalant about his record against Florida State and VirginiaTech – which dropped to eighth in the poll – before this season, and he’sequally indifferent about it now.
“Virginia Tech was just one of 11 games,” he said. “But if you want towin the conference championship and become a (Bowl Championship Series) teamand put yourself in a position for other goals, we knew we’d have to beatVirginia Tech.”