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Hurricanes Begin Preparation For Houston

Hurricanes Begin Preparation For Houston

Sept. 26, 2006

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (www.hurricanesports.com) – Miami has had a week to recover, mature and straighten out their kinks. Now they will prepare to test their meddle on the field against unbeaten Houston on Saturday evening in the Orange Bowl.

Tuesday’s afternoon workout at the Greentree Practice Fields marked a return to normalcy for the Hurricanes (1-2), who spent their “off week” conducting intense practices without an opponent waiting for them at the end of the week.

“Coming off an open week which we needed, it feels good to be back in a regular week where we prepare for a football game,” head coach Larry Coker told reporters at his weekly news conference. “We had a lot of fundamental work last week, a lot of conditioning, and some pretty physical workouts.

“A good part of that is I think we’ve got better as a football team. More importantly, I think our players approached it with a great attitude.”

There was also a noticeable improvement in the performance of Miami’s younger players, Coker said.

“Young players are starting to play not quite young players,” Coker said. “After this is a new season. These freshmen are not freshmen anymore. They’re sophomores. This is a new season for them and we expect them to play at that level.”

Junior quarterback Kyle Wright echoed Coker’s sentiments.

“The focus was really put on getting Miami better,” Wright said. “That’s something that Coach Coker stressed and I think we definitely accomplished that.”

Miami will need to be better against a 4-0 Houston team that is off to its best start since the 1990 season. The Cougars run a high-powered offense that is led by Heisman candidate, Kevin Kolb, a four-year starter whose name is littered throughout the NCAA passing records.

“I think their style of offense makes (Kolb) very, very good,” Coker said. “He throws a lot of high-percentage passes. He knows what to do with the football. I think (Houston coach) Art Briles knows what to do with his offense. It allows Kolb an opportunity to take advantage of what you’re doing defensively.”

Miami returns to the practice field on Wednesday afternoon.

Notes: Wide receiver Darnell Jenkins did not practice and was listed as “doubtful” for the Houston game by Coker… Freshman Sam Shields will step into Jenkins’ starting spot… Tight end Chris Zellner will not be back from a calf injury for the Houston game and freshman Dedrick Epps has seen more work at H-back as a result… Sophomore left tackle Reggie Youngblood (ankle) returned to practice today, but was held back a bit, Coker said. There is still a chance that he will start against Houston… Offensive guard Andrew Bain (knee) was back at practice after recuperating during the off week.