Back on the Practice Field

CORAL GABLES – Miami returned to the practice field on Wednesday after a day off yesterday for Bryan Pata's funeral.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday there was a memorial for Bryan Pata on campus for family and the University of Miami community.

"It was a nice day," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "It was a tough day, but it was nice to get back out on the practice field after the services and hopefully get some closure from what we have been through in the last couple of weeks. The guys have worked through it and tried to handle it. It's another day."

Miami is 5-5 on the season and looking to become bowl eligible with a victory over Virginia on Saturday or Boston College on Thanksgiving.

Even if Miami wins the next two games, they are still likely to be the ACC's No. 7 team, sending them to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, Calif. on Dec. 27.

The ACC is guaranteed eight bowl slots with the No. 8 slot going to Boise, Idaho for the MPC Computers Bowl on Dec. 30.

Miami, Florida State, and Virginia are competing for the final two bowl slots in the ACC.

Florida State is done with ACC competition with two home games remaining against Western Michigan and Florida.

In addition to hosting Miami on Saturday, Virginia travels to Virginia Tech the following Saturday.

The Hurricanes will look to put the recent tragedy behind them to avoid their first four-game losing streak since 1997.

"To say we have had a lot of distractions recently is an understatement," Coker said. "Anytime you have a tragedy like that it is more than a distraction. It is something that is permanent…It's been tough on me, but especially tough on our players."

MOVING UP: QB Matt Perrelli, a sophomore walk-on from Jupiter, is the team's back-up quarterback with Kyle Wright injured.

Perrelli is a 6-foot-3, 232-pounder who completed his only pass attempt this year for three yards. He also scored a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak.

"He hasn't played much, but he will be as ready as he can be," Coker said.

Following his senior season of high school in 2004, Perrelli was named second-team All-Palm Beach County.

WRIGHT IN CAST FOR 6 WEEKS: QB Kyle Wright was told by the doctors he will be in his cast for six weeks, which would be Dec. 25. If the 'Canes make a bowl game, he is still unlikely to play.

FREEMAN IS "A LOT OF FUN": Coker was quoted as saying that QB Kirby Freeman is a lot of fun. He went on to say that, "he is an exciting player who will play hard and make something happen."

MERIWEATHER A QB?: S Brandon Meriweather could play quarterback if needed, but don't count on it. Third-stringer Jorge Fernandez has a better shot of playing quarterback than Meriweather although Meriweather did play some QB in high school.

JOHNSON TO PLAY MORE CB: CB Bruce Johnson is likely to play more cornerback this week for the 'Canes. Randy Phillips is still expected to start, but look for Johnson to play more snaps than he did last week after Phillips gave up the 65-yard touchdown pass.

TRUMP TEARS ACL: OL A.J. Trump did suffer a torn ACL against Maryland last Saturday.

MOORE WILL PLAY: WR Ryan Moore will play Saturday despite pleading no contest to criminal mischief and battery charges in his Aug. 26 incident.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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