Miami Football Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Larry Coker
Introductory remarks
“We’ve had a great week getting started in preparation for Boston College. Very excited about the opportunity we have and being 1-0 in the BIG EAST Conference and our second BIG EAST Conference test. It’s certainly our biggest test to date and we play a very different team than we’ve played before with the three previous teams. They’re pretty much pass-oriented teams. Of course, Boston College throws the ball well, but they’re more like we are. They’re more balanced. Their quarterback, (Brian) St. Pierre, coming back, is a special player for them, like (Ken) Dorsey is for us. They do a good job spreading the ball around. They use their fullbacks, their tight ends, they use their running backs, as well as their wide receivers, so they present a lot of challenges to our defense. They’re a veteran team. They have, I believe, eight starters back on defense. They have their punter back. They have their kicker back. Of course, after last year’s game, they’ll come in with a lot of confidence after their week of preparation. But, again, we’re excited about the opportunity. We’ve got a great crowd expected in the Orange Bowl. We’re certainly glad to be home. We’ve been on the road the last few weeks and it’s great to be home in the Orange Bowl.”

On quarterback Ken Dorsey’s confidence against Boston College (he threw four interceptions during the Hurricanes’ encounter with the Eagles last season)
“Last year is last year and those things happen. There’re going to be those games where you have some interceptions and you don’t play as well as maybe you like, but then it’s a new day. I think if you’re a quarterback … I give the example of Jim Kelly. I saw Jim Kelly throw his first four passes for interceptions in a professional football game. Interception, interception, interception, interception. But you could just tell, in his eyes, that the next four were going to be touchdowns. And I think they were. Not in that order, but he came back and had a great game to win the game. That’s the way a great quarterback is and I think Kenny’s that way too. He knows that if he throws an interception that we’re coming back with him and I think that’s important for him.”

On memories from last year’s game against Boston College
“The most vivid (is the fact that we won), but the Ed Reed play was very vivid. But probably even more vivid was when they converted on a fourth and, I believe 11 or 12, the previous play and we had a chance to end the game right there, but St. Pierre made a great throw to, I believe, the tight end down the middle and … that really stands out because that would have been the game without the Ed Reed play. It wouldn’t have been the same season. We needed that drama, I guess.”

On a perceived pattern wherein Miami overpowers Boston College in the Orange Bowl, but struggle at Boston
“Every game is different. The makeup’s different. Why it’s been close in Boston and we’ve had convincing wins here, I don’t know that, and I’m sure we’re trying to break that trend. We’re trying to maintain it this year, obviously, because we’re playing here at the Orange Bowl. But why that is, I don’t know.”

On player’s praying on the sidelines while Boston College drove down the field in the closing minutes of last season’s game
“We all in the huddle had our direct lines to God that day (laughs). Anybody who had any real problems around the world that day, hey forget it, because there were no openings that day (laughs). It was all ball that day for God (laughs). But, I don’t know that we needed a miracle. (Ed Reed’s play) was a great play. Lucky, maybe. Good bounce, yes. But I do know this, Matt Walters was doing the things that defensive coaches coach him to do. The ball was thrown, he turned to chase the ball, Mike Rumph was breaking on the ball. The ball was low, really a good throw. It was a nicely thrown ball, it just bounced off Mike’s knee. Again, Matt was chasing the ball and then the Ed Reed thing, you make the call there on that one.”

On whether or not Boston College’s near upset of Miami helped the Hurricanes in the long run
“I think there are some times you need a reality check to realize that you’re not bullet-proof and you’re not invincible. I think even our Virginia Tech game before the bowl game was one of those. Had we blown Virginia Tech out in Blacksburg we might have had a really relaxed time going into the Nebraska game, but I think we really realized that if we really wanted to finish this thing off and win a national championship that things have to be done and they have to be done right. Sometimes you need a reality check.”

On Boston College’s run defense
“They’re doing a good job and they always have at Boston College. They have eight starters back. Three in the secondary, two of the linebackers, and three of their front guys. (Defensive end) Antonio Garay is one of the top candidates for the Ted Hendricks Award and he’s an exceptional player. Their linebackers are just good solid players. Their secondary has been their forever. More than just a standout player, you have a lot of really good team players, a good team concept, and a good team defense because they are veterans and they are good players. Garay is one that I know is certainly a standout. With Willis (McGahee), I think it will be his biggest challenge so far. And I say with Willis, I mean with our rushing offense. They do a great job with moving their front, a lot of difficult situations that we’ll have to block and they’ll do some things that will cause us some problems.”

On whether or not Miami will be motivated against Boston College
“Yeah, I think we’ll be motivated. We were motivated last week, obviously, and we jumped out to a 21-0 lead (on Temple). You take away two poor plays on special teams and they do a nice job converting and came back and then we had two good drives to go ahead 44-14 in the second half. So we were motivated, it wasn’t that we weren’t motivated. We did some things wrong that allowed the game to be closer than we would have liked it to be. I don’t think there will be any mysteries. They scared us last year and they’ve played us tough for a number of years. I think we’ll be very motivated.”

On Miami’s receivers in the absence of Andre Johnson
“I think they did very well. I think we could play better there. Guys caught the ball. Kevin Beard had six catches and I believe Roscoe had four catches and we did a good job running after the catch. I think we really set up some nice plays. Kenny had a great percentage, he had over 300 yards passing and threw for a couple of touchdowns. They’re doing a nice job picking up the slack. Now, I was asked ‘Do you miss Andre Johnson?’ Sure we do. Anytime you don’t have a great player, you miss a great player. I hope they all step up and we have a 1-9 punch, rather than simply a 1-2 punch. I think 10 different guys caught passes and I like that a lot better. The one guy, you can kind of take that guy away, but you’re right. One guy needs to step up and be the go-to kind of receiver.”

On special teams
“Well, we really played awfully well on special teams other than the obvious standout mistakes. We have 12 goals on special teams and achieved nine. We had a missed field goal, a missed extra point, and a poor punt snap. Those are things that can be disastrous. But, for the most part, we played well. We covered kickoffs well and their (Temple’s) punt returner is one of the best in the country and he got nothing. So a lot of the things we did, we did well. It was just those standout things that you see and those need to be corrected obviously.”

On wins as wake-up calls
“I think, sometimes, that’s a good kind of win. I mean if you have that kind where you win and you’re not totally, ‘Well, we’ve got it all figured out now.’ I think that can be a good win because it allows you to go to practice and bear down on some of those things that you need to improve on.”

On expectations that Boston College will be a more physical team than those previously faced
“This is a different type of game I think than we’ve played before. We’ve played a lot of finesse football teams before, with the draws and those types of things. They spread you out and run. But, you know, BC’s a tough, physical type team. That’s the way that they do things. They’ve gotten better each year. They’ve recruited better, they’ve played better, they go to bowl games, and they win bowl games. They’re a very tough physical football team and they may feel like this is their year. I think it’s a situation where we feel like we have good linebackers and we have good people up front. We have to be ready for that street fight and have the toughness to stand in, but from a coaching stand point, yeah, I like this matchup.”

On reversing Miami’s turnover fortunes
“We’re going to go to work on turning that around and get back to creating turnovers and protecting the football. That’s probably what worked for us last year when it’s all said and done. That was a huge stat that was in our favor and we need to get that turned around.”

On the secondary’s desire to create turnovers
“I don’t detect any lack of hunger. Every defensive back wants to get his hands on the ball and make the interception. That’s what it’s all about. We haven’t had as many opportunities, because we’ve really discouraged some of the throws down the field with the coverages we’ve had. So they’re not getting as many opportunities, so I think that’s part of it. I think we’re hungry. I think we’re doing the same things now as we did a year ago as far as drills and those types of things.”

On whether or not “revenge” is a motivating factor for the Hurricanes
“I don’t do that very much at all, the revenge from teams that have beaten us. Those scores aren’t going to change and we won that game last year and that’s not going to change. The only thing we can do now is concern ourselves with how well we’re going to play Saturday in the Orange Bowl. And you don’t have bring it up. It’s going to be brought up. It’s going to be talked about in the media and those sorts of things. The Ed Reed play will probably be shown a few times. You really don’t need to say much about it. We’re pretty much aware of it. We’re a veteran team, too. We’ve got a lot of guys who were in that football game, too.”

On preparation for Saturday
“We’re going to have the same practice routine and there’s no snow forecast for Saturday night so that maybe that’s an advantage for us. We pride ourselves on being a conditioned team and a fast team and you use that to your advantage if that is an advantage. You have to play fast and you have to go out and really be in great shape on Saturdays. I think if you’ve ever played in the Orange Bowl in September, it can be very stifling.”

Offensive Guard Ed Wilkins
On the success of the Miami running game
“We’ve really set our minds on, you know, we’re going to run the ball this year. Dorsey and the receivers always do their thing, but last year with (former UM tailback Clinton) Portis we kind of became a running team, as well, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to run the ball.”

On the series with Boston College
“Hopefully, the weather will stay hot. (It will help us that we’re) not on that turf. Especially with the game last year, we know not to relax. We also know that they’re not going to just come out and lay down. We’ve got to come out and execute.”

On last year’s game against Boston College
“We gave them a chance and this year we won’t. We know what we’re up against this year. Last year, we weren’t sure and we’ve just got to go out and execute … We realized that teams that we know we can beat weren’t just going to lay down and give us the win. It put a lot of pressure on us to go out and execute each and every game and each and every play.”

On improving
“We haven’t played our best game yet. We’ve been playing, I think, pretty bad but, at the same time, we just find a way to win. That’s one of the themes for this week: to go out and execute and get better and better each game, each day, and each practice.”

Defensive Backs Coach Mark Stoops
On improvements from last season’s game
“Actually, we just had a couple of mental mistakes last year that hurt us in that drive, when they were driving down to get into position. It’s just (a matter of) staying sharp. We had played fairly well for the majority of that game and then when it counts and the game’s on the line, we kind of had a little meltdown. But, you know, we’re going to be okay, we’re going to be prepared for the game.”

Offensive Guard Chris Myers
On the running game
“Last year, we established the running game off the bat and that’s what helped us win the game.”

On Boston College’s run defense, which is sixth in the nation
“I think they’re allowing like 47 yards per-game and that says a lot about their defensive line and linebackers and they’re allowing 271 yards in passing. We just need to concentrate on the running game and establish that early on.”

On Boston College’s physical play
“Personally, I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, as a starter in my first year, number 98 (Doug) Goodwin is a really good defensive tackle and that’s who I’m going to be up against. I’m going to have to concentrate and be able to do it. Last year, they were a real physical group up front and they have a lot of the same guys up there so I imagine that they’re going to be the same way … I know that they’re tougher than the previous teams we’ve played. Not because they have tougher players. They just have more athletes out there and that’s the way they go. Their offense is a tough offense. Their defense is built around being tough and stopping the run. It’s just more so the athletes and the scheme that they run that makes them tougher.”

On last year’s game
“The thing that I remember mostly was Todd Sievers and Clinton Portis. I think that was Clinton Portis’ best game of the season. He ran the ball so hard and finished on every single play and then Todd, to just kick all those field goals and keep us in the game … it was just amazing. And that “Immaculate Deflection,” as they’re calling it, was the one thing that I remember the most. We just have to come out and perform a lot better than we did last year.”

On Boston College’s strategy last season
“Last year, they ran a few weird blitzes but this year, from what we’ve seen so far, they’re running the same kind of blitzes that they’ve been running every single game. I’m sure they’re going to be throwing some extra things at us. The other teams that we’ve played haven’t done anything that we’ve seen on film. So I’m sure there’s going to be some extra stuff that we’ll have to adjust to during the game.”

Boston College’s confidence level
“I’m sure that they were ecstatic about almost taking us out of the national championship contending spot and I’m sure that’s going to be with them this year, to be able to do the same. They’re going to be motivated as much as we are to beat them.”

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma
On being the only linebacker on the field in pass defense situations
“(It’s hard on Howard Clark and DJ Williams) because they want to be able on the field and we’re always getting on each other about who’s going to have the most tackles in a game, just a little friendly competition like that. Now I get a chance (against Boston College) to get out there on the field along with them so it’s going to be exciting.”

On defensive end Jerome McDougle
“He was hurt, with his strained pectoral muscle. Ever since then, you can see that he has an edge to him because he’s been wanting to get out there so bad. He’s got a point to prove. He’s going to go out there playing and give it all that he has and then some. It’s really showing on the field.”

On Boston College quarterback Brian St. Pierre
“He’s good. I remember him from last year and the offense that they run, the scheme that they run, really fits him and what he does. He’s really efficient in what he does and in his offensive performance and how he goes about playing the game.”

On Boston College tailback Derrick Knight
“He’s different, he’s a different kind of back because Boston College usually has the big backs that try to pound you and he’s like a little shifty back (who will try to juke you). He’s a little different, but we’ve just to get used to him. We’ll get used to him in the first offensive series.”

On Boston College’s confidence coming into the Orange Bowl
“I expect them to be very confident. After going and playing how they did last year, there’s no reason that they don’t come down here and think that they can beat us and have a legitimate gripe about how they should have beaten us last year. I know they’re going to come out here and, of course, give us 100 percent like every team. But they don’t have in the back of their minds ‘Oh this is the Canes, they’re number one, blah, blah, blah.’ They really think they can beat us.”

On his thoughts on last season’s scare at Boston College
“No, not really. I was just relieved. Every time I think about it, I just feel relieved about it. It was totally different when I was in the game because everyone watching it was like ‘Oh, I was so scared, I was so worried,’ but when I was in the game I didn’t really think that way. When I actually saw it on TV, I was like ‘That was a little scary’.”

On the leadership of Jerome McDougle in the locker room
“Jerome (McDougle) is pretty vocal. I wouldn’t really call myself a vocal leader, I just talk a little bit. Dorsey, he talks a little bit, but more so Jerome McDougle.”

On the Hurricanes’ ‘killer instinct’ against Boston College
“I think that comes from practice and the way we practice. Keep harping on the little things in practice. Keep harping on executing in practice and giving 100 percent. Then, when we’re out in the game we don’t have to force (it). It just comes naturally.”

Vernon Carey
On the mindset of Miami going into Saturday’s Boston College game
“We want to beat them bad. They’ve probably been preparing for us for like the last two weeks … They want to beat us bad, but we want to beat them, too.”

On being more physical than Boston College
“They’re a team that likes to move, just like Florida. They do a lot of blitzing and stuff like that. We’re going to have to run the ball and throw the ball and handle all the blitzes.”

On last season’s game against Boston College
“We just basically beat ourselves. We just made a lot of mistakes. We had some interceptions and a fumble. The defense played well. It showed at the end of the game that they stepped up for us. The offense just has to do a better job. That’s going to be our job this week. The offense is taking it more personally than the defense this week. The offense wants to win the game. Last year, we didn’t step up for the team and the defense did.”

On motivation for both teams
“They’re going to be motivated. They think they can beat us, but our motivation this week is going to be that they can’t. They think they should be on the same field, that they should have beaten us last year, but that’s going to be our gas, our fuel against them.”

On Boston College’s defense
“They do a lot of blitzing. They like to blitz. That’s why they have one of the best defenses in college football right now, but we’re going to try and change that … They came out of nowhere with that (special blitz) last year. They put a new blitz in for us last year and we really didn’t adjust that well. I think we were just shaken up. They surprised us last year and they played well. We know what we’ve got to do this year.”

Expectations going into last year and the results
“We just expected some outside blitzes and stuff like that. Nothing major. They were hyped. We let them stay in the game with us and them staying in the game with us made them play better, I guess. If you’re going to play against a high-caliber team and they let you stay in the game with you, you’re going to think that you’re just as good. Just like with Temple last week. We let them stay in the game and they started to think that they were good. I’m not say that they’re not good, but they felt like that and we let them hang around.”