Hurricanes Have Some Fun Upon Arrival In Southern California
Dec. 27, 2001
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Top-ranked Miami arrived in Southern California onWednesday for the Rose Bowl and ran a 30-minute workout replete withlaughing and joking as coach Larry Coker watched in a suit and tie.
“My luggage didn’t get to my room. I don’t normally practice in a suit,”Coker said with a smile. “It’s great to be here. The players are in greatspirits.”
They sure seemed to be. With some in shorts, others in sweatpants and mostwearing T-shirts, the players did some light calisthenics and running.
They also split into groups and ran pass patterns, and the defensive linemenseemed to be having the time of their lives as they went against each other.
“We’re usually pretty relaxed,” Coker said. “We’ll be in full pads tomorrow.You could tell they were glad to be back together.”
In contrast, Nebraska, which plays Miami in the Bowl Championship Seriestitle game Jan. 3, practiced in full pads for two hours after arrivingMonday.
After holding similar workouts Tuesday and Wednesday, Cornhuskers coachFrank Solich said drills will start becoming lighter.
“We had nine days of practice before we came out here,” Coker said. “Wedidn’t feel like we needed to go guns to the wall on the first day.”
Miami (11-0) will be missing two key offensive players – backup receiverEthenic Sands was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules, andstarting fullback Najeh Davenport had surgery last week for a broken foot.
Coker said both will be missed, but depth at their respective positions willmake their absences a bit easier to take.
Sands caught 26 passes for 385 yards and one touchdown, and Davenport gained54 yards on 23 carries, caught 14 passes for 190 yards and scored fivetouchdowns this season. But he was best known for his blocking andprotection of quarterback Ken Dorsey. Miami allowed only four sacks.
Dorsey spoke highly of both players.
“We’re not going to change anything, we’re going to press on and hopefullywin one for these guys who can’t be here,” he said.
Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, a first-team All-American who hadarthroscopic surgery on his left knee Dec. 3, said he felt good afterrunning for the first time since the operation.
Coker said he is aware of Nebraska’s capabilities.
“They won 11 games, we won 11 games,” he said. “They just happened to lose agame late in the year. We know what to expect.”
Coker at first referred to Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch, the HeismanTrophy winner, as Tim Couch – the name of the Cleveland Browns’quarterback – before correcting himself.
Coker spent 22 years as an assistant before being hired Feb. 3 to replaceButch Davis, who left to become the Browns’ coach.
Dorsey, who grew up in Northern California, said the Rose Bowl has alwaysmeant a lot to him.
“I grew up watching Cal Berkeley football,” he said. “I’ve been a die-hardCal Berkeley fan all my life. I was pulling for them to get here. Now thatI’m here, it’s very special to me.”