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Hurricanes Begins Full-Speed Work for Nokia Sugar Bowl

Dec. 27, 2000

NEW ORLEANS – The University of Miami Hurricanes went outdoors in rainy weather for a two-hour practice in full pads Wednesday afternoon at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, officially beginning game week preparations for their upcoming Nokia Sugar Bowl clash with the Florida Gators.

“I didn’t want us to have to practice in the Superdome all week long, so I was happy for us to get outside today for a workout,” said Miami head coach Butch Davis. “I thought we needed to seize the opportunity to get outside. We had a good practice, the guys were focused.”

The workout included Miami’s entire 103-man traveling squad, with one exception. All-BIG EAST Conference tight end Jeremy Shockey still has not reported to New Orleans because he has been unable to leave his home in Oklahoma to make the trip. Dangerous travel conditions caused by severe winter weather have prevented Shockey from making a flight or driving down from his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma. Davis said he expects Shockey to make it to town on Thursday.

In other news, defensive end Jevon Rhodes returned to practice for the first time since before the season finale against Boston College. Doctors cleared Rhodes to return to action after recuperating from the aftereffects of a kidney ailment caused by a bruised back suffered during Miami’s 26-0 victory at Syracuse on November 18. A fifth-year senior who was a regular in the defensive line rotation most of the season, Rhodes is now free to play in his Miami finale.

“It’s a great relief and something I’m grateful for,” said Rhodes, who lost 20 pounds off his 275-pound frame during the injury. “I’ll cherish the chance to play in my last game even more after going through what I’ve experienced the last month.”

Another fifth-year senior defensive lineman, Brian Stinson, will miss the Nokia Sugar Bowl after suffering a torn tendon in his left hand. Stinson suffered the injury on December 14, but underwent surgery on the injury on December 23 and will miss his final game as a Miami Hurricane.

“It’s a shock, really,” said Stinson. “I’ve played football since age six and I’ve never had an injury of any real serious nature. To get all the way to the final game of my senior season – and not be able to play in it – really hit hard.”

Miami and Florida will meet in the Superdome at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, January 2, 2001, with a possible national title on the line for the Hurricanes. The game will be televised live by ABC and can be heard on ESPN Radio and via the Miami Hurricanes Network flagship station on WQAM (560 AM) radio in the Miami area.