"After having a year under my belt and playing in that game, I know what to expect," Kyle Wright said. "The excitement level is going to be high. The atmosphere is going to be at its best. I think that's probably the biggest difference between last year and now."
The historic rivalry game against Florida State at 8 p.m. tonight will also be the first for Wright with new offensive coordinator Rich Olson directing the attack.
"I feel really comfortable in our offensive system right now," Wright said. "I think we made a lot of strides from when they first implemented the offense back in April."
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound quarterback acknowledged that the Hurricanes' offense will still be familiar to fans of Miami football.
"It's not like we're putting in the triple option or anything completely different from what we've done," he said. "It's still a pro-style offense and I think we'll definitely be more exciting than we've been in the past couple years."
Wright said he's improved the timing with his receivers and the snap of his release during the preseason for his crucial role in the offensive scheme. Aside from his personal improvements, he also has the experience from last year's game against FSU as an advantage.
"Both teams are always going to be physically talented," he said. "It's just a matter of going out and executing and minimizing your mistakes."
It's also significant for Wright that tonight's matchup is another season-opener for both squads and a marker for the rest of the season.
"It forces both teams to be more on top of their game and more fine-tuned," Wright said. "This is the type of game where you can't come out and make a lot of mistakes and expect to win."
Although Wright was sacked nine times by the ‘Noles in last season's contest, he's confident the offensive line will be more effective with protecting him in the pocket.
"I've been really optimistic and really happy with what I've seen from them," Wright said.
He praised the o-line for their hard work and mentioned how they arrived at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings to study film and practice defending against different blitz packages.
Wright is also confident in the freshmen that will most likely see playing time during the course of tonight's matchup.
"There's a lot of distractions in [the FSU] game," he said. "You run out of the smoke and you see 75 or 80,000 people yelling and screaming. It's a little overwhelming, but as long as they go out and line up correctly and execute, we'll be fine."
Wright said one of the most impressive freshmen this fall has been Sam "Sticky" Shields, a receiver whose nickname alludes to his exceptional hands and catching ability.
"Sam is a very talented young player," he said.
"Of course he has to get that [game] experience. I think once he settles in and realizes that it's just football, I think he's gonna start doing some really special things."
Javarris James, the cousin of former Hurricane and current NFL running back Edgerrin James, is another freshman who'll most likely compete in tonight's game as a backup tailback.
"He made me laugh about a week ago," Wright said, recalling a moment with Javarris.
The Hurricanes were practicing at the Orange Bowl with artificial crowd noise to replicate the disruptive atmosphere of a live game. Wright was familiar with the deafening sound, but he could see that James was clearly affected by what he heard in his surroundings.
"It comes down to football," Wright said.
"Your muscle memory takes over and it's everything that you've practiced in the summertime and in fall practice. It just takes over. It's just your instinct."
Many things have changed for Wright since last season, but he'll rely on the same advice when he emerges on the football field for tonight's showdown against the ‘Noles.
Wright, Hurricanes Face FSU Tonight at 8 pm
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