Miami QB Ready for Second Start

Kyle Wright started his first collegiate game against Florida State and finished 16-of-28 passing with 232 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. And now, with the first start under his belt, Wright says feels more prepared than he expected for the next game, Saturday at #20 Clemson.

"Surprisingly, I feel a lot more prepared than I thought I would," Wright said. "Even the first practice we had after FSU it seemed like I had a little bit more confidence when I was out there. Things have slowed down a little bit. We went up against our defense, which is fast as we all know. Playing against FSU definitely got me mentally prepared. I have an idea of what to expect in that kind of environment against that type of team."

The coaches have stressed to the team to move on towards Clemson despite the tough loss to their arch rival in a close game.

"It is tough when you are in a nail biter like that and you feel you are a better team," Wright said. "It is definitely hard to move on from something like that, but you are forced to because there are a lot of games still left to play."

Kyle Wright, a sophomore, understands the magnitude of the upcoming game against Clemson. Miami cannot afford to drop to 0-2 in the ACC with hopes of getting to the ACC Championship game.

"I guess you could say there is a lot riding on this game," Wright said. "I think we are mentally ready and we know there is a lot riding on the game. Hopefully we go up there, play mistake-free football, and get better from last week. We know we didn't want one loss on our schedule so we have to pick it up."

The team has held practices, meetings, and walk-throughs since the Florida State game on September 5. Wright believes there is more focus with the team and is confident in the team's ability to avoid mistakes.

"I think there is more focus," Wright said. "After watching the film, we feel like we basically shot ourselves in the foot. If it was something that we thought FSU did to us and we made mistake-free football and they still came out on top, then it would probably be a different story. But since we turned the football over and had a lot of mental breakdowns on offense, then we feel like we can improve. We have to dial it up a notch with our focus and really go into Clemson with the same attitude we had against Florida State."

One of the areas the Hurricanes need to improve upon is pass protection. Wright was sacked nine times in the 41 pass plays. Four times Wright was able to avoid the sack and was able to pick up 25 yards. He admits to being a bit sore following the game.

"Soreness was there for a couple of days--I'm not going to lie," Wright said. "I know that is going to come with the position, but I was definitely beat up for a couple days. You still have to stay in there and make the throws."

Although the offensive line struggled in the first game, Wright remains confident in his group that will now feature four seniors in the starting lineup with Tony Tella regaining his spot at right guard.

"I have a lot of confidence in them," Wright said. "If I lost confidence already then the season would be doomed. I know those are guys are going to work hard in practice and watching extra film and really get some kinks worked out. I am fully confident that they are going to be able to protect me. I need to help them out too and try to get rid of the football."

Wright didn't focus on the sacks during the game, instead he kept plugging away.

"I honestly didn't think about it," Wright said. "I knew they were getting pressure on me in crucial situations, but if I point fingers at people that is something you can't have. You have to move on and keep playing. We still had a chance to win the football game, no matter if there were nine sacks or no sacks. You just have to stay positive until the end and try to keep the guys motivated."

Although he is in a new leadership role this year he has a good understanding of what a leader is all about and is not afraid to take charge, although it will take time for a young player.

"I think that is something that comes natural," Wright said. "Either you are a leader or you are not. Forced leadership is probably the worst thing you can do. Whether you have to get a guy's face or pick him up, that is not something that can be coached--that is something that is in your personality. I can take criticism myself and it can me saying things or something else, but there definitely comes a time when something needs to be said. It is not something you think about it, it is something that you just react to."

Despite the struggles of the offense, Miami was able to drive 95 yards in the fourth quarter to set up a 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line to attempt a possible game-winning touchdown while trailing 10-7. Three plays later Miami had to settle for a field goal attempt that failed due to a poor snap and hold, which forced the Hurricanes to scramble for the ball as opposed to kicking the ball.

"It is disappointing as an offense because we didn't leave it in our hands," Wright said. "We left it in the special teams hands, which is something that I personally don't want to do. I don't want it to even come into question that it comes down to a game-winning or game-tying field goal."

Against Clemson, Miami expects to establish a running game. Last week against FSU, Tyrone Moss rushed for 102 yards on 23 carries. Derron Thomas added seven yards on four carries and Quadtrine Hill had one attempt for minus-one yard.

"As an offense, you always want to come out and establish the running game," Wright said. "That will help the passing game tremendously. We did that early last week against Florida State so if we come out again and have a solid running game that is going to make the play-action pass and passing game a lot easier on ourselves."

Wright anticipates getting the ball to the wide receivers more this game after he found them five times last game (Ryan Moore-3, Sinorice Moss-2).

"I definitely want to get them the ball more," Wright said. "We have so much talent at wide receiver. I am really going to try to get them the ball more. It was kind of tough the other night. Those are the guys that can break the game open. If we get them more opportunities, this offense could be really special."

One of the bright spots in the passing game was tight end Greg Olsen, also a sophomore. Olsen caught a game-high eight passes for 137 yards, also a game-high.

"Players on the team and the media that is here every day know what type of player he is," Wright said. "Now the rest of the country got to see him. I said before the game that he is the guy I will look for in crucial situations. He creates a lot of mismatches with opposing linebackers. No matter how he does it, he finds a way to get open and catch the ball."

Looking back on his first start he "felt great from the first snap" and did not feel rattled during the game from being overly excited.

"It was more of an excitement thing during pre-game with all of the adrenaline pumping," Wright said. "Once the game starts your concentration and focus takes over--it has to. You can't play on that type of high, you have to settle down. Obviously I got more comfortable as the game went on."

Wright gets his second start of his career on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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