UM Ready for LT

If Larry Coker had his way the Hurricanes would pick up where they left off when they run through the tunnel Saturday afternoon in the Orange Bowl. Shouldn't be much of a problem, right? After all, these guys should be sky high after putting together a frantic rally in last week's come-from-behind victory over Florida State.

In getting past their in-state rivals for the sixth consecutive time, Miami got an early start in the ACC and national championship title races.

So getting up for the next game should be a piece of cake. Well, it doesn't always work that way.

"It's always a concern in the back of your mind that after such an emotionally charged game they might come out a little flat, but I don't see that being a problem with us," said Coker as the No. 4 Hurricanes (1-0) prepare to play Louisiana Tech (2-0). "We have the kind of leadership and character on this football team that I don't worry about not coming out ready to play."

Despite the victory over Florida State, Coker insists that the Hurricanes are far from being a national title contender at this point. At the top of the list? He pointed out the team's offensive struggles (136 total yards in the first half) for most of the evening against the Seminoles. Miami was 4-for-17 on third-down conversions and averaged 3.4 yards per rush.

"Nothing is ever a guarantee and the bottom line is we need to get better as a football team," said Coker.

Miami has outscored La. Tech 90-40 in two meetings since 2000 and leads the all-time series 3-0. Last season the Hurricanes had over 400 yards of offense in a 48-9 victory over the Bulldogs. So maybe UM shows up a little hung over and sleepy eyed on Saturday.

Not so, says junior offensive tackle Eric Winston.

"We have a lot of veterans like Brock (Berlin) and Antrel (Rolle) who just won't let that happen," said Winston. "When the game starts these guys know they have to take care of their business and it doesn't matter who we're playing. Besides, if you go back and look at the Florida State game you will see we weren't perfect."

Against FSU, Miami went four offensive possessions without a first down and turned the ball over twice in the first half.

"We want to get our offense going," Winston said.

Something the Bulldogs have had little trouble with.

La. Tech, coming off a 24-20 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, has rushed for 589 yards in two games and is averaging 31 points on offense. Most of that damage has been courtesy of junior running back Ryan Moats, who has run for 514 yards total this season. Moats, who rushed for 1,300 yards last season, has scored four touchdowns while carrying the ball 67 times so far.

The Bulldogs begin a run of facing four consecutive games against top-25 teams. After Miami, La. Tech faces (No. 13) Tennessee, (No. 19) Fresno State and (No. 14) Auburn.

"Our guys know what it's like to be in big games," said Louisiana Tech head coach Jack Bicknell.

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