Coker Excited for 2005

Larry Coker enters his fifth season as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes. He has a 44-6 career record and won the 2001 national championship. The new season is exactly four weeks away, which has everyone excited in Coral Gables.

Practices started Saturday, August 6 and the coaching staff welcomed back a number of key players with a lot of experience.

"The players are going to be tired and sore this month because we are going to push them," head coach Larry Coker said. "We have a lot of work to do. Everything has been a positive so far with our defense running around. Our offense is having a lot thrown at them right now."

Talent wins games and according to Coker this year's team is not short in that category.

"I feel like we have a team that is potentially good enough to win every Saturday," Coker said.

Last year the team finished 9-3, but was considered a disappointing season. They are 13-5 in their last 18 games. To put their record in perspective they were 46-4 in the previous four seasons.

"They know what is going on," Coker said. "They come here to win championships. We did some good things last year, but they expect to do better."

In recent years Miami teams always had standout players in preseason lists as well as guys with first-round expectations. This year only Eric Winston and Devin Hester have earned such praise questioning whether or not the talent has dropped off.

"I don't think the talent has dropped off," Coker said. "I think the talent is there. I don't think we have six first-round draft choices--maybe we do, but nobody else has ever had that many. We have good talent and I don't have any complaints with how we evaluated these guys in recruiting and now we just have to coach them."

This year the Hurricanes will feature a new starting quarterback when sophomore Kyle Wright gets the call. Wright beat out redshirt freshman Kirby Freeman for the spot in the spring and has everyone excited.

"He is prototypical," Coker said. "He really looks good at what he is doing. He has outstanding speed, which is an added dimension we haven't had."

One of the most explosive players in college football is back for the Hurricanes. Junior Devin Hester has returned five kicks for touchdowns (two kickoffs, three punts), recorded four interceptions, rushed for 40 yards and one touchdown, and has caught five passes for 141 yards in his career.

His seven career touchdowns ranks second on the team to running back Tyrone Moss who has 11.

"I think you are going to see a new Devin Hester--attitude wise," Coker said. "Not that it was bad, but just the maturity. He has only played in the secondary for one year and has really grown up a lot. He is understanding what it takes to play on every play. He has the potential to be one of the best defensive backs that I have ever been around."

Freshman were allowed by the NCAA to participate in summer workouts with the team. A number of them have shown a lot of confidence with their expectations of contributing this year.

"Sometimes you see young men look around and see why they were recruited," Coker said. "Their confidence level builds up and they think this isn't so bad."

Practice resumes tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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