Talk about the first four games of the season and how the defense has played
At the beginning of the season Florida and Louisiana Tech threw a lot at us and East Carolina and Boston College basically ran at us. I think we were trying to think too much in the first two games and we just played against ECU and Boston College. They came out and punched us in the mouth and we threw one right back at them. We knew against BC especially that if we stopped their running back that we were going to be OK. We felt we needed to score a touchdown on defense or special teams and then whatever the offense gave us would be great. BC having a new QB helped us, as we knew they'd rely on their running back. The defense is read and react for us so we go out and play. We're a team and we go out and we win together and if we lose then we'll do that together too.
How is your season progressing personally?
I try to keep getting better every week. A lot of fans think they know this or that but too many want to be the coach and don't really know what is going on on the field. I was at the Dolphin game the other day and it was the first time I have sat in the stands for a game in a long time and people around me were complaining and asking for Marino back out of retirement. Be real man. Guys have to be who they are and not someone else.
To what do you attribute the offense's struggles?
For the most part it has been the little things like missed blocks, fumbles here and there and stuff like that. They just need to do what they are coached to do. The week off we had coming into WVU, as a full team will help us get better.
Where do you feel the defense stands in relation to where you want them to be?
As a defense we are about where we want to be. BC had a solid offense and we passed that test. They tried to smash it at us like Virginia Tech will try to do. Pittsburgh can throw and Tennessee will try to run it on us, we both know that. We are tackling well and we are close to where we want to be.
Who has really raised their game this year and impressed you?
Sean Taylor and Alfonso Marshall. Sean has picked up his game a lot the last two games. You can't stop him when he has his mind set. Alfonso is a guy that doesn't get a lot of respect. Guys go at him with Antrel Rolle on the other side and he is making them pay. I think the defensive line is doing excellent as well. They are young and hungry. Baraka Atkins has been dominant.
How is the shoulder holding up so far this season?
The shoulder feels good – 100%. I'm having fun out there and it feels even better when you win.
Any specific goals you have for yourself with this being your last year?
Not really, just to be better than last year and get the title. Personal goals are attained by the team's success. The individual results will come if the team does well. Basically getting the title back is all I'm thinking about. I'd say just starting for Miami is a goal for me which I am accomplishing. Starting at Miami usually means you are better than 90% of the other players in the country. I don't even know where my All-Big East awards are to tell you the truth.
In the BC game the defense had a considerable amount of intensity compared to previous games. Was that something stressed by the coaches or the players?
It actually started in practice after the ECU game. We were making a lot of picks, stripping the ball and stuff like that. What you practice carries on to the field during games. We had some excellent practices coming into Boston College. We just went out there and played. Coach Shannon told us to unleash the fury and prove to people who the best team was. It was a statement game to show Boston College who the best team was and not let them get up after we knew we had them down.
What about off the field? Things going well in the classroom?
Yes, I graduated last December with a degree in Criminology. I'm finishing up my second degree in African American Studies and I'll have that completed in May.
What are your goals after college?
I'll join a police academy, preferably in Miami, as I know the area so well. I want to be a detective. I love that almost as much as football. I'd love a nice, long career as a detective.
You do not play a day game until FSU. What is the schedule like for you and the other players during the day waiting around for these night games?
We watch a movie early in the morning and then go do a walk through and then come back and relax at the hotel and maybe sleep some. We will do whatever we can to relax whether it is watching other games, playing pool, whatever. We go to our pregame meal about 4:30 or so. The night games are tough; I hate all of the waiting around. Noon games are best I think. Get up and get it on man.
Maurice Sikes Q&A
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