Coker Reacts To OB Pairing

The University of Miami Hurricanes will take on the Florida State Seminoles in the 70th Annual FedEx Orange Bowl Classic at Pro Player Stadium on January 1, 2004. The game will be televised by ABC and is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff and is a continuation of one of college football's most intense annual rivalries. The Hurricanes defeated the Seminoles 22-14 in Tallahassee on October 11th.

On playing in the Orange Bowl…

Obviously we are very glad to be in Orange Bowl and get to play in a BCS bowl game. It was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, to make it to a BCS bowl game. To have that opportunity especially after losing a couple of games in November, to rally and come back to win the Big East Championship, certainly a big thrill for us. We are excited to play in the Orange Bowl. From a personal standpoint, I love it because throughout my career in the Big Eight, we were real close to winning the Big Eight and going to the Orange Bowl. I have had a good fortunate of playing in all the major bowl games except the Orange Bowl. I think it will be great for South Florida and the state of Florida. It should create a lot of interest. It is great for our players to play in a great bowl game. The opponent, anybody you play is going to be good and obviously we are playing a great football team in Florida State. I looked at all the games and I didn't pick out one that would be easy. Again we have a tough opponent and we will be up to the challenge.

On the potential opponent…

We went with a theory that it really doesn't matter. We are where we are and we are playing who we are. We had a good feeling we would be in the Orange Bowl, but we didn't know whom we would play. We have been fortunate that we have been in control and people had to play us. We like that situation better. We are in a situation where we are not in control, but we are just extremely fortunate to be in a great bowl. When we lost two in a row, I think we know we had to turn it around. It was not a given that we would do that. We had some work to do.

On the BCS system…

I think it has a few flaws. I think there will be a lot of discussion. We talk about how we a rematch, but we are fine with a rematch. I wonder what USC is feeling right now. What does he (Pete Carroll) tell his players? There will be some reworking of the system. I am not a big fan of a playoff system.

On facing Florida State for the second time in the 2003 season…

I am a little disappointed with the matchup with Florida State because we played them earlier in the season and we open next year with them. I am not going to be dishonest and say I am not a little disappointed.

On rematches…

I am not a fan of rematches. I saw that when I was in the Big Eight with Oklahoma and Nebraska. I am not a big fan of that. That is not part of the BCS formula, what I am a fan of. I am a fan of reward and being in great bowl games. We beat them the first time, but I will say it will be harder to beat them the second time. It is hard to beat someone twice in a season, we know that. Especially an outstanding football team. It is hard to beat them once, let alone twice.

On the repeat weather conditions against Florida State…

Maybe there will be some rain or snow in the game. We are praying for bad weather. I don't think it will be hard to get our players ready to play. Our players love to play, that is just the way they are. We are playing a team like Florida State and they know they have to play well.

On the potential rematch with Florida State in future seasons in the ACC title game…

I am not looking at it that way. We hope it is that way. We certainly hope we are good to advance to the ACC title game and play against Florida State if they get there in the future. The future is then and we are dealing with what we have now.

On the potential matchup against Ohio State

We really never knew that. It was out there that it was a possibility and it would have been excited to do that. I am from Oklahoma and coached there, I would have liked to play Oklahoma. Certainly there are a lot of private stories there. The Ohio State game would have been for us, a lot of emotion and a lot of interest around the country. But this team will be excited to play. We have a lot of young players and the opportunity to play in a professional stadium, we will be prepared.

On having a great experience even though the team will be playing close to home…

We are going to have a great time at this bowl game. It will be a great trip for our players, it wont be a long trip. We are going to stay at a nice hotel; we are going to have nice dinners. We are going to do a lot of nice things for our football team and that is what I am excited about. Our players deserve a great opportunity.

On practicing on campus as opposed to the Orange Bowl facilities…

We will probably practice here. I do not know all of the logistics of the situation. They might require us to practice there. That way we don't have to move everything; we have our equipment here and our video equipment here.

On what the senior class has accomplished…

You get into all of the negatives of the game with the rematch and such. But the positives are the seniors will have played in all four major bowl games, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta and now the Orange Bowl. They won a title and were runner up in another. They have gone 45-4 during their years here. That is unbelievable for this senior class. There are 21 guys in this class, all will graduate. Can you play at a high level? Can you graduate and be a good student? Sure you can. That is our goal at the University of Miami.

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