Practice Report: 9/22

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes are just two days away from their home opener against Colorado.

The team practiced for two hours in shells beginning at 3:20 p.m. with the main focus on special teams.

"Today was a good day for us. We worked a lot on special teams which will be a key for us because they are outstanding on special teams. We have to really counter that. We need to match them and hopefully win the special teams battle. We have to do a great job of really pressing the issue and igniting the crowd. It is our first home game and we have to act like it is our first home game."

"I think they are very excited to play at home. I think we are real excited to have a regular schedule. We went through September last year with virtually no Saturday games. Five of our next six games are at home so we have a lot of special things to play for."

"We have an early morning game on Saturday, but it is at home and we can't allow ourselves to come out flat. Colorado is not going to be flat. They have had an extra week to prepare, it is a big game for them and certainly a big game for us. We'll be ready to play."

· Earlier today Coker signed a contract extension through 2009. "It is signed, sealed, and delivered and I am very happy about that. Without saying I haven't made any bones about it. I haven't been trying to hustle any other jobs or anything else. This is the place I would like to be and I want to be here for a long time. I am very, very fortunate for the opportunity to be the head coach at the University of Miami."

· The team had an energetic practice today concluding a week of practices that were "very good" according to Coker. "The thing is we expect to be better now than we were a week ago and we should be."

· DE Javon Nanton and LB Leon Williams led the stretching today. Nanton and Williams both are key senior reserves, who will be counted on heavily as the season progresses.

· The wide receivers and quarterbacks worked on fade routes after practice--a route they typically do not use during the game. With more emphasis on this play, they could be planning on using it in the game Saturday.

· DT Baraka Atkins, as expected, will start Saturday against Colorado after a limited role last game against Clemson.

· RB Andrew Johnson showed good agility on a kickoff return today in practice. Johnson is more than willing to play this year, if needed. Coker has already stated he does not plan on redshirting him, but the jury is still out with Derron Thomas and Charlie Jones backing up Tyrone Moss.

· LB Tavares Gooden has been ruled out for the Colorado game due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the first game. He wanted to play, but after today's practice Coker has ruled him out. "Maybe next week, but we'll see," Coker said.

· OL Derrick Morse is still out with a fracured shoulder. He is running on his own during practice to help with his conditioning. He is expected to miss 2-4 more weeks after suffering the injury on August 11.

· FS Anthony Reddick, DT Teraz McCray, CB Glenn Sharpe, and CB Carlos Armour are not practicing and are still recovering from ACL injuries. All four will miss the 2005 season.

Tuesday, September 27 at 3:20 p.m.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com


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