Florida Preview

The Miami Hurricanes host the Florida Gators in their home opener. The Hurricanes are coming off a 48-9 victory over Louisiana Tech. The Gators also won by a large margin as well, defeating San Jose State 65-3.

#18 Florida Gators (1-0) vs. #3 Miami Hurricanes (1-0)
Orange Bowl – Miami, Florida
September 6 – 8:00 PM Eastern Time on ABC

Miami won last year's meeting between the two schools 41-16 in Gainesville. Before that meeting the Canes and Gators had not played since 1987. Miami running back Willis McGahee had a huge day rushing for 204 yards. Miami gained 508 yards total offense, the most yards ever against Florida. Florida did not have the offensive sack that Miami had gaining just 354 yards and quarterback Rex Grossman threw three interceptions.

Florida Gators - Notes and Quotes

The Gators are excited about their performance in last week's game. They put a lot of points on the board, which was impressive even it was against an inferior opponent.

Sophomore Ingle Martin started at quarterback for the Gators and responded well. He finished the day 14-23 for 196 yards and a touchdown. Martin is battling freshman Chris Leak for the starting role. It has been a heated contest throughout the off-season and will continue throughout the season. Leak had a good day also going 10-14 for 111 yards and a touchdown. Martin will start the game against the Hurricanes, but Leak is expected to lead the team every third series.

Second year Head Coach Ron Zook evaluated the game against San Jose State, "One thing you would expect from a young football team would be that they waited around in the beginning. But they played with emotion and played with excitement and energy. After we blocked the punt is when they really seemed to start going. I was also pleased with the fact that as the game went on, we got better. That's a sign this team wants to learn and get better. It's very important that we continue to do that throughout the season. As for this week, it's a big challenge for us and we are excited about going down there.""

Even though the Gators are underdogs this week, it does not faze coach Zook.

"I don't look at it that way, but we do have an awful lot to gain. Our football team is excited to go down there; this is a great opportunity against a great football team. Everyone knows who Miami is, what they've done, and their record speaks for itself. This is a chance for us to show people where we are and to show ourselves what we can do. We've still got the same 45 guys coming out of the tunnel. It will be a different tunnel and a different environment, but it will be exciting to see how we perform."

Offensive Guard Shannon Snell has been willing to offer his opinion on the game. Earlier in the week Snell had said that they hoped to bloody the mouth of former Gator, Brock Berlin. Snell has not shied away from the media in his career. He once told a reporter in high school that they would win 70-0. They only won 14-7. Snell is excited for the game on Saturday.

"The environment is going to be hostile, very hostile. It will kind of be like LSU at night, so it will be pretty rough. It's going to be one of the best atmospheres I have ever played in. I remember playing down in LSU. It was fun because going into hostile territory always makes you step up your level of play. I can't wait to get down there and play."

Miami Hurricanes - Notes and Quotes

The Hurricane's defensive unit had another good week of practice.

"We had really physical practice today and I like what I saw from our defense," head coach Larry Coker said. "They really practiced with an attitude today. They flew around the football and were aggressive. That is the attitude and mentality we need to have to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game on Saturday."

The injuries are still bothering the Hurricanes this season. Offensive Tackle Carlos Joseph is the latest injured Cane. He will not start in the game but will be able to play if necessary. Coach Coker does not let the injuries bother his team.

"This has been typical," Coker said. "As I mentioned before, we had four starters miss the Rose Bowl in 2001 and we won the national championship. It is just one of those things when you have one guy out it gives another player a chance to step up. We had people step up in that game and we will expect some guys to do the same this week against Florida. We have talent and we expect the talent to play well"

Defensive End Thomas Carroll is confident in the defensive line's ability to get the job done against the Florida quarterbacks.

"They aren't going to have the pocket presence of other quarterbacks and hopefully we will get a couple more sacks. It really doesn't matter who plays quarterback because we are going to come at them the same way."

Wide Receiver Roscoe Parrish is getting close to being completely healed from his knee operation he suffered in fall practice.

"I think we just work hard and everything happens for a reason," says Parrish. "You have to take advantage of every opportunity at the University of Miami because there is another man behind you who can do the same thing."

Senior Wide Receiver Kevin Beard has had a good week of practice after failing to catch a pass in the opener. This will be Beard's first game back at the Orange Bowl since his season-ending injury he suffered in November last year. He is not bothered by the comments made by Snell.

"We leave the talking to them, the game is played in between the lines. All that talk will fade to reality on Saturday. We're not even thinking about a loss, it would leave a bad taste in our mouths. We don't want that feeling, so we are going to go out and play as hard as we can."

Miami Hurricane Projected Starters

QB Brock Berlin Junior
TB Frank Gore Sophomore
FB Quadtrine Hill Sophomore
TE Kellen Winslow Junior
WR Kevin Beard Senior
WR Ryan Moore Freshman
LT Eric Winston Sophomore
LG Vernon Carey Senior
C Joel Rodriguez Junior
RG Chris Myers Junior
RT Rashad Butler Sophomore

LE Baraka Atkins Freshman
LT Orien Harris Sophomore
RT Vince Wilfork Junior
RE Thomas Carroll Sophomore
WLB D.J. Williams Senior
MLB Jonathan Vilma Senior
SLB Roger McIntosh Sophomore
CB Antrel Rolle Junior
CB Kelly Jennings Sophomore
FS Sean Taylor Junior
SS Maurice Sikes Senior

Hurricane Injury Status

WR Jason Geathers (hamstring) – Out
OG Joe McGrath (leg) – Out
WR Akieem Jolla (suspension) – Out
OT Carlos Joseph (ankle) – Questionable
OG Vernon Carey (ankle) – Probable

Team Leaders

Miami

Passing – Brock Berlin, 203 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing – Frank Gore, 118 yards
Receiving – Devin Hester, 2 receptions, 68 yards Ryan Moore, 4 receptions, 67 yards, 1 TD
Defense – Sean Taylor, 6 tackles, 1 INT D.J. Williams, 6 tackles, 1 TD

Florida

Passing – Ingle Martin, 196 yards, 1 TD
Rushing – Ran Carthon, 54 yards, 2 TD
Receiving – Kelvin Kight, 6 receptions, 75 yards, 2 TD Carlos Perez, 2 receptions, 57 yards

Defense – Johnny Lamar, 5 tackles Guss Scott, 2 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD

Two Key Match-ups To Watch

When Florida has the ball…

HB Ran Carthon vs. DT Vince Wilfork

Carthon did not have a huge game against San Jose State gaining just 54 yards on 13 carries. He will need to run the ball more effectively for the Gators to stand a chance against the Hurricanes. If Miami can shut down the run, much like they did last year, the Florida offense could struggle if they are continually forced to throw the ball. The key to Miami's run defense is Vince Wilfork. He had a great game last week registering three tackles for loss. The offensive line for the Gators could have a hard time containing one of the premier interior linemen in the country.

When Miami has the ball…

QB Brock Berlin vs. SS Guss Scott

Berlin is facing his former team and has played against many of the defenders during practices. It will be important for Berlin to limit his turnovers in this game. He tends to force throws at times and could be extra anxious for this game. Scott is the leader of the secondary and will need to read the passes by Berlin. If Scott can get good breaks on Berlin's passes, it could frustrate the former Gator.

Coach Larry Coker's Final Word

"Kevin Beard has had a great week, I have really been impressed with him this week. I told him today that he looked better today than he has looked in four years."

Player Quote of the Week

Wide Receiver Roscoe Parrish on playing against the Florida Gators, "This game is a state game, you got to play with pride. We all know the players on their team, and that makes it a bigger game."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com

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