Canes Move Up Despite Coker's Displeasure

What can possibly be wrong with the University of Miami football team? The Hurricanes (2-0) were bumped up to No. 2 in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll – leaping over defending national champion Ohio State, after a 23-point come-from-behind victory over the Florida Gators Saturday night in the Orange Bowl. So there: A frenzied rally against an arch-rival that was enough to earn UM a few extra points with the pollsters should have everybody on campus jumping for joy, right?

Not so fast, says Hurricanes coach Larry Coker.

Despite scoring 28 unanswered points to finish off the Gators 38-33 and stretch their winning streak at the Orange Bowl to 23 games, the Hurricanes will probably get an earful, if they haven't already, from Coker, who was not pleased with the number of penalties, missed tackles and dropped passes UM accumulated in the game.

"We're not a good football team right now and there are a whole lot of things we need to correct," said Coker. "The penalties and the field position were both horrendous, we never gave ourselves a chance."

"We had too many missed tackles on defense. We had a couple of broken assignments, and one cost us a touchdown. We had the shanked punt, two interceptions, two fumbles."

The Hurricanes were flagged 16 times for 134 yards, including numerous times for false starts and illegal formations offensively, while defensive breakdowns and poor tackling helped Florida build a large lead.

Halfway through the first quarter, Florida QB Ingle Martin found Carlos Perez for a 50-yard touchdown reception that allowed the Gators to tie the game at 10-10. On the play, Perez got behind defensive back Kelly Jennings before beating safety Maurice Sikes down the right sideline although Coker said that junior free safety Sean Taylor should have been in position to make the play. Then on the first play of the second half Taylor and senior linebacker D.J. Williams were split by Florida running back DeShawn Wynn on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run.

Miami quarterback Brock Berlin, who finished the game 27-of-41 with 340 yards and two touchdowns, added interceptions on the Hurricanes first two possessions of the second half.

"Obviously Florida's coaching staff did some things defensively that had us confused," said Coker.

But Coker was pleased with the way the Hurricanes kept their focus on the game despite trailing by more than three touchdowns late in the third quarter and also signaled out the performances of several offensive players, namely Berlin, running back Frank Gore and receiver Kevin Beard, during the contest's most critical moments.

"It was really pleasing to see the way our team kept fighting and not once gave up. They never made mention of the scoreboard and just kept going about their business," said Coker. "We could have looked up at the scoreboard and decided it was time to go home early."

After completing just eight of 16 passes for 62 yards in the first half and throwing interceptions to start the second half, Berlin was heavily booed as he took the field with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter and the Hurricanes down 33-10. But that's when the junior from Shreveport, Louisiana turned it on. Berlin completed 16 of his last 22 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns as the Canes rallied.

"Brock showed what he's made of," Coker said. "He battled his way through some problems and made some unbelievable throws for us down the stretch."

Gore struggled to find holes in the Gators defense early, but the red-shirt sophomore saved his best for last to help put away Florida. Gore, who finished with 127 yards rushing on 24 attempts, scored on a 1-yard run to bring Miami within 33-25 late in the third quarter. He picked up another 24 yards on three carries during Miami's scoring drive early in the fourth quarter to make it 33-32. He carried the ball five times, including a 12-yard TD run, on the Hurricanes winning drive. Gore added seven receptions for 54 yards.

Beard had seven receptions for a game-high 164 yards, including a 26-yard TD catch to start the Miami comeback in the third quarter.

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