The Edge Miami Needed

They played with an edge. There was a chip on their shoulder. They felt disrespected by the national and local media.

Those are three things that University of Miami head coach Larry Coker said about his team and the way the coaches and players felt coming into the game against Virginia Tech in their 27-7 win over the Hokies Saturday night in Blacksburg.

But the mood, although happy with the win, had some disappointment as running back Tyrone Moss is likely out for the year.

Moss is scheduled to have an MRI Monday, but Coker said it didn't look good.

"It's a shame for him because he had like 750 yards and was on pace to break a thousand and was having a good game early against Virginia Tech," Coker said. "But I expect him to be back by the summer."

However, the emergence of sophomore running back Charlie Jones gave Coker plenty to be happy about although Coker said he wasn't surprised at all and had high praise for the freshman that came in and rushed 24 times for 97 yards and a touchdown.

"I was not at all surprised with the way he (Charlie) played," Coker said. "He plays like he practices. He reminds me of Barry Sanders when I was at Oklahoma State in the way he practices. I was encouraged for him to get the chance and step up. You can't say enough about him."

Coker was also very happy with the way the offensive line played with its protection of Kyle Wright and the holes that were paved for Jones.

"The offensive line played their best game of the year," Coker said. "The pass protection was great. We ran the ball real well."

But Coker raved about the defense that dominated the game.

"Defensively, I think that was the fifth week in a row we held an opponent to under 200 yards," Coker said. "Roger McIntosh was all over the field. Javon Nanton was great. Kelly Jennings played better than ever. Kareem Brown scored a touchdown, our first defensive touchdown this year."

Coker couldn't pick one area though that outshined any other on the defensive as they all dominated.

"We got so much pressure on Marcus Vick," Coker said. "The game was won on the two fronts. The tale of the two fronts, offensive and defensive line. Definitely it was a tremendous defensive effort."

"There is a lot of satisfaction in winning this game because as a group we were underestimated. That gave us an edge. We heard we have no chance to win. We felt disrespected from the media, but you have to earn respect. I think the kids did earn some respect in this game."

But there are three games after this one and the win will mean nothing if the ‘Canes don't finish off Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Virginia in three huge conference games.

"We are a pretty mature team," Coker said. "We didn't flinch. Virginia Tech was going to be tough. We had to be tougher.

"It was a big game although I think it was blown out of proportion how big it was. We've won four out of six times against Virginia Tech. We play a lot of big games like that. But if we don't beat Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Virginia, it won't mean anything. Those games are huge too."

COKER ON VARIOUS TOPICS

On the hit Kyle Wright took

"We asked him if he was coherent coming to the sidelines, if he knew were he was. Maybe that wasn't the best question since some of guys don't know where they live when they haven't been knocked silly (said jokingly). He took a pretty good hit. He just couldn't breathe. He's a tough player."

On how Kyle Wright played overall

"We felt coming in that he could take advantage of stuff underneath with quick passes. He did that very well, threw the ball very well, was real crisp. He didn't make any mistakes. The receivers did a nice job getting open and he got them ball."

On the play calling by Dan Werner

"I think he called a great game mixing the run and a pass. The screens worked well. We didn't have huge numbers, but the offense did what it took to complement the defense."

On the focus of the team

"The penalties and turnovers are what cost us the previous games against Va. Tech. We told the guys, worry about doing your job, you have to play through the crowd noise. We did the best job of keeping focus as we've done all season."

On the poise of Kyle Wright

"All the things they'd done for eight games on the film is maul quarterbacks. It's hard to keep your poise back there, but Kyle trusted his guys to protect him and kept control. Brett Farve would have a hard time keeping his poise looking at that on film."

On the Moss and Wright injuries

"If I was a fan watching the game and I saw the starting quarterback and running back go down in the first half, I'd probably go get some chicken wings and drinks and forget about it."

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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