Virginia Tech Preview

Miami is coming off a bye week after defeating Temple 52-14 on October 18. The Hurricanes racked up over 600 yards of total offense and were led by running backs Jarrett Payton and Tyrone Moss who both eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Virginia Tech lost last week to West Virginia in disappointing fashion 28-7. It was the first loss of the season for the Hokies who were ranked third in the country at the time.

#2 Miami Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0) vs. #11 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1, 2-1)
Lane Stadium – Blacksburg, Virginia
November 1 – 7:45 PM Eastern on ESPN

Last year Miami defeated Virginia Tech 56-45 with Willis McGahee leading the way with 205 yards rushing. Bryan Randall led Virginia Tech with 132 yards rushing.

Virginia Tech Hokies - Notes and Quotes

Virginia Tech battled hard this week in practice and they want to prove to the rest of the country that they are a legitimate premier team and that last week was just an aberration.

"I think we had good practices this week," head coach Frank Beamer said. "I think our team understands how good this Miami team is. It will take a great effort on our part to stay in the game with them."

Virginia Tech has been known for it strong special teams play throughout the years and this year is no different. However Beamer praises the Miami special teams.

"To be honest with you, I don't think anyone is better on special teams than Miami. I think we are good too, but I don't think we are better than Miami. I think they spend time on it and they have great personnel. If we keep the game close special teams will have a lot to do with the outcome. Usually in a close game special teams decide the game."

Not only does Beamer think highly of the Hurricane special teams play, but also he is very impressed with their defense.

"I tell you, their defense," Beamer said. "The linebackers are good, the secondary is good, and up front they rip you and keep on going. I think it's the best defensive team that Miami has ever had. That is saying a lot because they have had some great defenses. I really believe that from seeing them on film. They are just playing good."

Quarterback Bryan Randall struggled last week throwing three interceptions and recording four fumbles, but just one was a lost fumble.

"I got over the West Virginia game the next day," Randall said. "I was still down after the game. I realized that you have to move on and you can't be bitter about a game for too long. There is nothing you can do about it now. I am still very confident in myself. I have been playing football for a long time and sometimes you have bad games, but that doesn't make you a bad player. The good players are the ones that can come back from that. The game against Miami is a big game for us and hopefully we can come away with a win."

Kevin Jones is 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game averaging 105.57 yards per game. Last week Jones suffered a deep thigh bruise in the game. During his freshmen year in 2001, Jones rushed for 160 yards against Miami.

"I don't think they are as strong up front as they were last year," Jones said. "They still have the same guys around the rest of the defense. They are still a good team. I think we have a good shot at beating Miami. We had a good week of practice and we have the players to do it. It is just a matter of going out there and getting the job done."

DeAngelo Hall injured his right hand earlier this week in practice, but it is reported as just a bruise and he will be fine.

"Their receivers are a talented group of guys," Hall said. "They have guys that can take it the distance every time they touch the ball. They still have that breakaway speed and attitude. They don't have receivers like they have had in the past like Santana Moss that can kill a team at any given time. I think it has just been the big plays. If you eliminate the big plays against your team you have a chance to win."

"There aint nothing like a night game in Blacksburg. This year there is a whole different mind frame going around Blacksburg," Hall said.

Miami Hurricanes - Notes and Quotes

Miami has not played since October 18 and they are ready to get back on the field.

"It has been a long two weeks," head coach Larry Coker said. "We haven't had two weeks before. That is a bit of a concern but we have done some good things. Now it is time to get in the rhythm of playing. It is hard to simulate the speed and intensity of a game in practice."

"They are a tremendous football team and a great program," Coker said. "Coach Frank Beamer does an outstanding job coaching. I think this is one of the best Virginia Tech teams that I have seen offensively, defensively and on special teams. Going on the road to play them will be a tremendous challenge for us. We have to be at our best for an opportunity to win."

The Hurricanes have put up a lot of points against Virginia Tech in the past few years. A lot of teams have struggled against the Virginia Tech defense, however Miami has done a good job of figuring it out.

"The thing you have to do against Virginia Tech or any team is that you have to be patient," Coker said. "We have had some big playmakers and some running backs that can make some big plays. That helps a great deal, but the big things is to be patient and let your playmakers make plays."

The receivers at Miami know that this game will be a tough game for them personally. It is important that the receivers have a good game to ease the pressure off of the running game to keep the Virginia Tech defense.

"Our team is staying focused like every other game," wide receiver Sinorice Moss said. "This game could determine our season. We have a good game plan and we just what to do what we are supposed to do. It will be a dogfight. We know they would have wanted to win this game regardless if they lost last week or not."

"I think the offense has done well against Virginia Tech because we have a great coaching staff and offensive scheme to give us a chance to win," wide receiver Kevin Beard said. "A lot of teams this year haven't gave us the big plays so this game could be an opportunity for that because they tend to put more people in the box to stop the run." Beard knows that going up against DeAngelo Hall will be a great challenge for him and the receivers.

"He is a great player," Beard said He is quick and fast. I think he is a track guy. He has quick feet and uses his hands well. It will be a good match-up."

"A lot of times when people are doing a lot of trash talking in the newspaper, it is usually because they are intimidated," strong safety Maurice Sikes said. "We don't feel we have to do that. We don't have to apologize for just winning and that is basically what we are trying to do. Obviously teams have stars. They have a lot of stars on their team, but it doesn't really matter if you can't put it together. There is not a problem with them saying stuff. We are just going to show up for the game and go from there."

The Hurricanes are holding their opponents to just a 19% third down success rate.

"You have to be focused on third-down," defensive end John Square said. "A team can either keep going down the field or they have to get off the field."

Miami Hurricanes – Projected Starters

QB Brock Berlin Junior
TB Jarrett Payton Senior
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 Carlos Joseph Senior

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 Darrell McClover Senior
CB Antrel Rolle Junior
CB Alfonso Marshall Senior
FS Sean Taylor Junior
SS Maurice Sikes Senior

Hurricane Injury Status

WR Roscoe Parrish (Chest) Probable
FS Sean Taylor (Shoulder) Probable
DE Bryan Pata (Ankle) Questionable
FB Talib Humphrey (Achilles) Out
TB Frank Gore (Knee) Out

Team Leaders


Passing – Brock Berlin (1604 yards 61% 9 TD 10 Int)
Rushing – Frank Gore (468 yards 5.3 avg 4 TD)
Receiving – Kellen Winslow (36 rec 391 yards 1 TD) Ryan Moore (24 rec 316 yards 2 TD)
Defense – Sean Taylor (42 tackles 6 Int) Jonathan Vilma (58 tackles) Vince Wilfork (5 sacks)
Kicking – Jon Peattie (14-17 FG 25-25 XP)

Virginia Tech

Passing – Bryan Randall (1042 yards 65% 9 TD 6 Int)
Rushing – Kevin Jones (739 yards 5.6 avg 9 TD)
Receiving – Ernest Wilford (28 rec 375 yards 1 TD) Justin Hamilton (15 rec 179 yards 1 TD)
Defense – Michael Crawford (62 tackles) DeAngelo Hall (1 Int) Cols Colas (3 sacks)
Kicking – Carter Warley (8-11 FG 33-36 XP)

Notable Team Statistics

Virginia Tech – 1st in Big East Rush Offense (223.00)
Miami – 3rd in Big East Rush Defense (120.71)
Virginia Tech – 2nd in Big East Total Defense (300.29)
Miami – 1st in Big East Total Offense (431.86)

Two Key Match-ups To Watch

When Virginia Tech has the ball…
C Jake Grove vs. DT Vince Wilfork

It doesn't get better than this. Grove is a finalist for the Lombardi Award and Wilfork is enjoying a solid junior season as one of the nation's top interior linemen. Grove is the catalyst for the Virginia Tech offensive line and will be very important in the success of the run game. Wilfork needs to apply constant pressure on the Hokie run game up the middle. If Wilfork can establish the middle it will force the Hokies to run outside thus setting up a better scenario for the Hurricanes.

When Miami has the ball…
TB Jarrett Payton vs. LB Vegas Robinson

Payton is a hard-nosed running back that shows good burst up the middle. Last week Virginia Tech had a hard time containing the West Virginia running back, Quincy Wilson, as he rushed for 178 yards. Payton needs to establish himself early in the game for the Canes to be successful. Robinson is one of the best linebackers in the country and is tied for second on the team with seven tackles for a loss.

Keep Your Eye On

Virginia Tech CB Eric Green – Green started his first game of the season last week replacing Garnell Wilds who suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Miami LB Jarrell Weaver – Weaver blocked a punt in Miami's victory over then fifth ranked Florida State earlier in the season. Weaver is a standout on special teams and this game could come down to a big play on special teams.

Coach Larry Coker's Final Word

"Our players know what they are into when they play against Virginia Tech."

Player Quote of the Week

Defensive tackle Santonio Thomas on the potential cold weather at Virginia Tech.

"We don't deal with the cold here. The only thing that we do is on Thursdays we will put our hands in an ice bucket, that is about it."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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