Coker Press Conference - Part 2

In part two of Larry Coker's press conference he talked about the defense, Devin Hester, and the firing of Ron Zook. Miami is finalizing their preparations for North Carolina which can be seen on ESPN2 Saturday night at 7:00 ET.

On the performance of the defense last week:

I did. I saw too many big plays that we gave up. What you do see is in the second half that T.A. McClendon had very few yards in the second half and I see missed tackles from a week ago were cut in a half against N.C. State. I think there were some things that were some things we improved upon. Are we there? No. We certainly have to take another step to be as good as we want to be.

On teams having success running a number of slants and short passes:

Two things are happening with that. One, is we are not getting the rush that we need. Second, we are not passing routes off correctly and there have been some missed assignments. Sometimes we are just getting beat and sometimes we are getting picked illegally. That is okay because you expect that. You aren't going to get many calls on picks. Again, that is football. Now, let's correct it. That is why we are coaches and that is why we videotape the games and we have intelligent players, we just have to go out and do it.

On the possibility of teams using more trick plays especially in punt or kick formations to avoid a return:

I think the thing you do is you have to prepare for an array of trick plays. Obviously if we see them from other teams we will cover them. When you play N.C. State you immediately think of Florida State from when Amato was there. You work on those things. What we do each week is we try to show each week what guys have done. You try to make your players understand. It is amazing when we line up in a punt formation that they think it is the 11th commandment that you have to punt it. You don't have to do that. We trap block. Do you know how many times those guys work against a trap block in their lives? Zero. We are susceptible and other teams are susceptible to those types of things. We just have to try and work on it by being sound and make them aware.

On if North Carolina QB Darian Durant looks to run or throw once he is outside the pocket:

A little bit of both. I couldn't put myself in his mind. He is a good passer. Sometimes you see those athletic guys and they are throwers. They might hit a target and they might not. This guy is a passer. He is 220 pounds. I don't think it really matters to him. If you are open then he will get you the football. There is no secret that we have had problems with running quarterbacks. They are the 12th man out there and we certainly have to do a good job against him.

On whether or not to contain with the defensive ends or have a linebacker spy to defend the runs by the quarterback:

I think you have to mix it up some. We have to mix in some zone coverages with man coverages and have a spy. It is one thing to have a spy, but you have to tackle the guy. It does create some problems.

On if DE Baraka Atkins will move inside to play tackle:

Right now he will spend a little bit more time at defensive tackle. We will definitely get a look at him there. We will feel we are pretty good and deep at defensive end so it is a situation we feel comfortable with to do that. He is fine with it and that is the big thing.

On the performance of DT Kareem Brown:

He played extremely well there and has really improved. He made a lot of plays and was our defensive player of the game. He did an outstanding job forcing a fumble and then recovering the fumble. He made a nice return on it. It was one of those plays—he..could.. go..all..the..way, but not quite. Again he played very well and has gotten better, better, and better. We are extremely encouraged by his play.

On if DE Baraka Atkins could permanently play defensive tackle in the future:

He has gotten big and he is a big player anyways. Plus he is very intelligent and a very smart player. I think it is a situation where he knows he can play either. He is also a very active player.

On the starting lineup along the defensive line:

We haven't figured out a starting lineup yet. It will be the same guys we had last week. Thomas Carroll, Javon Nanton, and Vegas Franklin will move up. Of course, a guy that is doing well, is Alton Wright. Bryan Pata is also in the mix at defensive end. That group of guys will be in the mix at defensive end, but I wont even attempt to say who will start. It depends on how they practice this week and they are a more physical team so it might give some of the bigger guys a chance to play a little more.

On how DE Javon Nanton led the Big East in sacks last year with eight, but has yet to record one this year:

He will have one on Saturday. I guarantee a sack for Javon on Saturday. I don't think anything is wrong with him. I think the thing what happens is that teams do things to prevent players from taking players out of the play. I think sometimes that happens. Also, I think we are getting blocked pretty well at times. He is not injured or anything. We just have to keep working and sometimes you get a breakout game. What I tell the guys when things aren't happening is to keep playing and make things happen.

On if CB Devin Hester will continue to see time on offense:

We will have a package for him each week as long as it is productive for him. We are not going to waste a lot of time or plays on it. The part that makes it feasible is the fact that he has played offense. You don't have to teach him what a formation call is or where to line up each time. He has done those things before and it makes it more feasible that he can do these things now. We just have to teach him what we want to do with each package and they will change each week. I don't know how effective it was, but it does give us another weapon on offense. If I am coaching defense on the opposing team I want to know where he is.

On how CB Devin Hester has handled the adjustment to defense:

I think he has handled it well. Is he ready to be a starter or dislodge someone from their job? No. he is making progress and we have to get him ready to play. he helps us some in the nickel package. When he decided to make a switch it wasn't easy. There are a lot of things you have to learn.

On firing Florida coach Ron Zook in the middle of the season:

I don't know what benefit that would be. They are intelligent people over at Florida. They have a reason and a plan—what that reason is? I don't know. The only thing I would say is this—if they know what is going to happen it would be disingenuous to smile and let it ride then you are out of here. They were being up front and honest. They wanted to move on and let the staff move on. I think no doubt that Ron Zook and his staff will be professional about it and do what they can to help the kids be successful.

On having Zook coach the team the remainder of the season after being fired:

My opinion is this, it is the same when a coach from our staff gets another job, it is best to leave and move on, and then we will move on. That is my feeling. Obviously someone has to coach the team, I don't know who that is, but someone has to. I don't know if you can have an interim coach. Again, Florida has a plan. Jeremy Foley and those people have been around big-time football and have a plan. We certainly them the best and Ron Zook the best.

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

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