Coker at the Peach Bowl Press Conference

ATLANTA, Ga. - Miami head coach Larry Coker enters the 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl with a 53-8 record.

Opening statements...

"It is a privilege to be here. I have said this before and I am genuine when I say this but the Peach Bowl is a tremendously run operation from both sides. I also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers involved in the Peach Bowl. It is just a great, great event. The City of Atlanta—I could just go on about that. We are very, very pleased with the opportunity to be here."

"We are also very appreciative of our fan performance. Last time we checked we had sold just under 11,000 tickets which is the most ever sold by a University of Miami non-BCS bowl game. That attributes to our players. We have a great fan support at Miami and we are very appreciative of that. We will have a great turnout of fans here and we are excited about that especially for our football players."

"The match up is well-documented with two top 10 teams. I think, other than the national championship, is the best match up in this bowl season. Are there too many bowls? I don't think so. You can play bowls all day and night for all I am concerned. Again I think it is a great match up. LSU is an outstanding team. I know when we told our team who our opponent was; there was a lot of excitement. I think that means a lot for our preparation. Our practices have gone well in our first day. Guys were light, loose, ran around and looked fast. I expect them to be ready to play."

Thoughts on your team...

"I like this football team. We are a very good football team. Yes we lost a couple of games, but I really like this team. I like the athleticism and the ability. I also like the character of these individuals."

The teams are very similar statistically, do you see similarities when you watch them on film?

"There are a lot of similarities. They are similar from the standpoint that they have a lot of speed, talent, and tradition. Their two interior linemen just stand out. They are all-SEC players and deservedly so. They are probably the two best interior players we will face the entire season. They overshadow a little bit the rest of the front four, but they are good at those positions."

"LaRon Landry is an outstanding defensive back. Skyler Green, their return man, is much like Devin Hester for us. We are very similar. I like to characterize a game like this as having an NFL-like mentality. This is probably not a 9 yards to the left and a touchdown to the right type of game. We would like it to be from our standpoint, but we have to have positive plays and not turn the ball over. A punt is not the worst thing that can happen."

Is it different facing Matt Flynn as opposed to JaMarcus Russell?

"It is different. The difference is the second-team guy has not played as much. One thing is we are preparing for is that he has a month to prepare as opposed to the SEC Championship game it was a spur of the moment. The team will rally around him, I'm sure."

With Ryan Moore out, does Devin Hester's role increase?

"We had a little mini package, but Santa delivered a huge package under the tree so we may extend his package for him. I think that gives us a little bit of a bonus for us because he can do several things for us."

What are your thoughts on having four wide receivers available for the game?

"I am really not concerned with our wide receiver position. I have been very impressed with our guys and the way guys have stepped up. That has been a University of Miami tradition with when something needs to happen or someone needs to step up to make plays, we have traditionally done that and I believe we will do that on Friday."

Thoughts on the disappointment of not playing for a national championship...

"To be where we want to be you can't lose a game and even if you don't lose a game if you don't start at the right position you don't get there. Even if our team when undefeated chances are we would have been third and if LSU went undefeated they would probably be third. That is just the way things have gone because they are so many good teams out there."

On making a good impression for the polls in 2006...

"Nothing replaces winning. When you win that leaves a good impression and to beat a good LSU team would leave a tremendous impression. There are going to be a lot of teams that win their bowl games, but it depends on who you play. Without question, LSU commands a lot of respect as we do. It would have a tremendous affect on the polls heading into next year."

Was the team excited about playing LSU?

"There is no about it. Our guys want to play the best team available. We had a tremendous schedule coming up with Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Ohio State in home and away games. The name LSU brings and the year they have had gets the attention of our players. I know our guys will want to play well and win this game."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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