Gore Ready for Contact?

Barring an unforseen turn of events it appears running back Frank Gore will participate in full-contact drills when the team dons the pads on Saturday. Although he will continue to be closely monitored, Coker said that Gore has already shown the coaching staff he's ready for contact.

"From what I saw today I was pretty encouraged," said Coker, when asked if Gore could withstand contact. "Unless things happen this week that we don't anticipate - we're not going to be foolish."

Gore, held out of full contact drills in the spring as he recovered from a second major knee injury, wasn't expected to be ready for the Hurricanes' season-opener against the Seminoles on Sept. 6. But after making some sharp cuts on his right knee and running at close to full speed during practice Gore says he prepared to get hit.

"Yeah, I'm ready for contact," said Gore, who injured the knee against West Virginia last season. "I don't think about it at all - the injury - because I already went through it. I just push and push it.

Despite admitting he doesn't feel 100 percent yet, Gore, who averaged 9.1 yards a carry as a freshman in 2001, is hoping he can make enough strides to start against FSU on opening night.

"I thought he looked good," said running backs coach Don Soldinger. "He hasn't gotten hit yet, but he looked good."

NOT BAD FOR OPENERS

Coker was pleased with the efficiency shown by the Hurricanes during the nearly three hour practice.

"I thought it was a pretty good first day," said Coker. "Obviously, we're in shorts, so you should be pretty efficient. We had some defensive guys cramp up, but all and all I was pretty pleased."

Miami's defensive unit 'chased the ball well,' Coker added.

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