Spectacular Season

Devin Hester has been remarkable this season making big plays at key points in games. On the season he has scored four touchdowns on returns, one rushing touchdown, and has recording two interceptions—good for second best on the team. On Saturday, he will start at cornerback with the injury to Antrel Rolle.

In the season opener against Florida State he blocked a field goal with three minutes left in the game to allow the team to come back and tie the game. He followed up that effort by scoring two touchdowns on punt returns against Louisiana Tech. He even told his teammates and coaches he would score two that game if they just let him return punts.

Devin Hester's sophomore season has been phenomenal. Throughout his career he has always said that he would play wherever the coaches wanted him to play and regardless of the position he would make plays. He is confident in his abilities to make plays and there is no doubt he has made plays this year.

"Wherever they find a place for me then that is where I will go," Hester said. "I will just concentrate on that position."

Against Georgia Tech he went in late in the game at safety, a position the team was working him in briefly, and recorded his first career interception. He told his coaches that he would intercept a pass that game right before he went in. They asked him if he wanted to play cover two or cover three and the rest is history.

What is more remarkable—his spectacular plays or the fact that he knows he will make them and lets his teammates know? Either way the Riveria Beach native is getting the job done.

He is currently third in the nation in punt returns with a 22.8 average and is 10th in kick returns with a 28.8 average. He has returned three punts for touchdowns and one kickoff for a touchdown.

Last game against Clemson, Hester started at tailback and at nickel back. He estimates he played in around 55 plays including special teams. Hester is on all four special teams and admits that it can be a bit tiring.

"You get a little tired during the game, but you have to push through it," Hester said. "You just have to play harder and condition more. You get a little fatigued, but you have to learn to fight through it.



He played more at cornerback than he had in any previous game in his career. He enjoyed being out there for a number of snaps and was able to get into the feel in the game better than if he was in just on spot plays.

"Mainly I was just trying to get adjusted to the game," Hester said. "I was just trying to get a feel of it because I know it was my first time out there at defensive back with as many snaps as I had. I tried to control my energy as far as playing-wise."

Against Clemson with the Hurricanes holding a 14-3 lead in the third quarter Charlie Whitehurst threw a pass that Hester jumped the route on and nearly had an interception going the other way for the touchdown. Instead it was an incomplete pass and Clemson would go on to score a touchdown two plays later.

"There are a lot of ‘what ifs' like what if I would have caught that interception," Hester said. "It is just a learning process and we just have to get over it and move on to the next game."

Keep an eye on Hester's nagging right ankle as #18 Miami (6-2, 3-2) travels to #10 Virginia (7-1, 4-1) for a game to keep the Hurricanes in contention for the ACC title. Hester thinks the team still has confidence despite back-to-back losses.

"We still have confidence," Hester said. "It is just a matter of how much we want it. I know we have three more games to play and we have a great chance to win the ACC. It just depends on how hard we work."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com.

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