Last week Miami lost to Florida State 10-7 despite outgaining the Seminoles in total offense, 313-170.
With a loss already this year, Miami cannot afford another one if they want to make a run at the national championship. However, head coach Larry Coker reminds the media and the Miami fans they lost two games last year in the ACC and still had a chance to win the ACC, but lost their final game against Virginia Tech.
"This is a game we need to win, but is it do or die, I wouldn't say that," Coker said.
With the struggles along the offensive line--allowing nine sacks against FSU--there will be a new starting lineup.
Senior Tony Tella will start at right guard in place of Andrew Bain.
"They told me on Tuesday after the game that I will be starting," Tella said.
Against FSU, Tella played sparinginly in the fourth quarter after recovering from a high ankle sprain. According to Tella he was at about "90-95 percent" for the Florida State game, but feels "100 percent" now.
All of the other linemen are expected to remain the same as well as any other changes to the starting lineup.
"We have to play better with the guys we have," Coker said. "If you play the same people every day, you learn how they play with one another. "Sometimes you get into some problems when you move guys around."
With the ACL injury to Anthony Reddick, Kenny Phillips is expected to start at free safety and Brandon Meriweather, who suffered a hamstring injury in August, appears to be the starting strong safety in place of Greg Threat.
Meriweather, Willie Williams, Derron Thomas, Charlie Jones, Eric Moncur, and Calais Campbell are players Coker wants to get more playing time.
"We should have rested Tyrone Moss more in the first half," Coker said. "We made a mistake on that and we should have played our young running backs more."
Clemson features a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this year, Rob Spence, who was the offensive coordinator at Toledo 2001-04. Last year Toledo averaged 474 yards per game under Spence.
"They have a different offensively philsophy," Coker said. "They are putting their quarterback in a situation to get rid of the ball quickly and they are protecing well for him."
Clemson senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has completed 32-of-41 passes (78 percent) for 363 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
"He is doing what they need him to do to win the game," Coker said.
Last year Whitehurst passed for 2,067 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. As a sophomore he passed for 3,561 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Clemson possesses one of the tougher home crowds around the country and they will provide the stadium with plenty of energy on Saturday.
"We handled the crowd well at Florida State," said Coker, who has not been to Clemson. "We aren't going to give the game to the crowd. They aren't going to be making tackles out there. If they win, it will be because their team played better."
Miami has not lost two straight games to start the season since 1978. Depsite the possibility it is not something Coker and the team talk about.
"We don't talk about losing around here," Coker said. "We aren't going to be intimidated by Clemson."
Regardless if Coker considers the game to be a do-or-die situation, it is. Unless another three-loss season is something expected from this team.
"We have to be more focused on the job we have to do and that is my job, " Coker said.
Practice resumes today at 3:20 p.m.
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coker Talks Clemson
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