Canes Return to Practice

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Larry Coker will coach Miami in the bowl game despite being fired on Nov. 24 and having defensive coordinator Randy Shannon promoted as the team's head coach.

On Friday, Miami began practicing for the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise as they will face Nevada.

"I want us to be well-prepared and have a lot of fun," Coker said. "Certainly we want to win the football game, but have fun and do some good things along with it."

Shannon made sure to tell his players that Coker was the head coach, although it had to seem a bit awkward considering the circumstances regardless if Coker believed it was or not.

"It wasn't awkward. It's a situation I'm not happy about obviously. It's nothing I didn't want," said Coker, who could find himself coaching at a different school next year if the situation is "right".

On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Rich Olson resigned to take a similar position under Dennis Erickson at Arizona State.

Coker has promoted quarterbacks coach Todd Berry to be the offensive coordinator in the bowl game. Berry, 46, has been the head coach at Illinois State (1996-99) and Army (2000-03)

"There will be some nuances and some new wrinkles," said Coker, with Berry in change of the offense. "Hopefully one new wrinkle is that we will score some points. Wouldn't that be a good wrinkle?"

Offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, 36, has been offered the head coaching position at Florida International University. Cristobal was at practice on Friday, but declined to speak with reporters about his situation.

Defensive backs coach Tim Walton, 35, is expected to be promoted to defensive coordinator under Shannon. Walton took control of the defense at the beginning of practice on Friday leading one to believe he is being groomed into the new position.


RB Andrew Johnson and FB James Bryant were not at practice on Friday. Johnson, a junior, has been rumored to be transferring to Akron in hopes of more playing time, but Coker would not confirm nor deny the possibility of Johnson transferring. Bryant has been suspended for the bowl game for a violation of team policy.


Fifth-year junior CB Glenn Sharpe said he will come back for his senior season next year as opposed to leaving early for the NFL Draft. Sharpe was recently named the winner of the Piccolo Award, given to the ACC's "most courageous" player.

Christopher Stock can be reached at

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