Coker: "It's been a tough off-season"

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Head coach Larry Coker addressed the media today at a press conference regarding the 2006 season.

THE SCHEDULE

Miami's schedule appears to be easier on paper than in year's past, but Coker reminded the media that it won't be a cakewalk after the Florida State game.

He believes that Louisville could be the most talented team on the schedule this year. Miami plays at Louisville on September 16.

"I am very anxious to play them," Coker said. "It will be a tough game."

Miami has seven home games and five away games with the ACC Championship game in Jacksonville.

SUSPENSIONS

Coker announced the suspension of four players who will miss the season opener against Florida State due to a violation of team policy.

Ryan Moore, arguably the team's top receiver, has been suspended two games. In addition to the FSU game, he will miss the Florida A&M game on September 9.

Tyrone Moss, the team's starting tailback, has been suspended one game.

Reserves LB James Bryant and WR Rashaun Jones have also been suspended one game.

"Sometimes as the head football coach you have to make decisions that are not pleasant," said Coker, who did not go into specifics of the suspensions.

STARTING ROLES

With the opening spots available RB Charlie Jones, WR Darnell Jenkins, and WR Lance Leggett will likely be the team's starting players.

Coker pointed out that Jones and Jenkins had great summers and he expected a different Leggett from a year ago.

The offensive line will feature four new starters, but Coker is excited about who they have.

"I think we have talent there," he said. "I would take talent over experience if I had a choice."

KYLE WRIGHT

Wright, a junior, is entering his second season as the team's starting quarterback.

Last year he passed for 2,403 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

With a year under his belt he is expected to have an even better year this year especially under new offensive coordinator Rich Olson.

Confidence and leadership are the two things Coker expects Wright to be improved on the most in 2006.

THE FRESHMEN

There are some freshmen will make an impact this season, but to what degree remains to be seen.

Wide receiver Sam Shields is the likely candidate to be the team's top freshman in '06 based on how he has performed over the summer and the depth at the receiver position.

Coker said that RB Javarris James is expected to play this year, but it is too early to tell how good he will be and how he compares to his cousin Edgerrin James.

Ryan Hill and Chavez Grant will compete for playing time at cornerback as well as in the return game as will Shields, James, and RB Kylan Robinson.

Coker is very excited about the four offensive linemen they brought in, but believes they will need time to develop. As with any freshmen, if they are in the two-deep at the start of the season then they will not redshirt.

"We want our guys playing," Coker said. "We don't want them to redshirt."

WILLIE WILLIAMS UPDATE

Coker: "I do not anticipate Willie being on this football team."

OFF-SEASON

There has been plenty to discuss in the off-season for the Hurricanes with six new coaches, a back-up quarterback considering transferring, players transferring, players leaving early for the NFL and deciding to stay, a player getting shot while a teammate shoots in his defense, the Willie Williams situation, and suspensions.

"It's been a tough off-season, but that's how it goes with major college football," Coker said. "The key is to be up front and deal with it."


Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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