McCray, D-Line Prepare for Nevada

Teraz McCray and the Miami defense took the field again on Thursday looking to pick right back up where they left off following a dominating performance all season. Despite the low profile bowl game, McCray said the team was focused on Nevada despite being disappointed in the season.

"I think we could have had a better season," Teraz McCray said. "A couple plays here and there and we could have been going to another bowl. Not to say that this bowl is a bad one, but we could have had a couple more wins in the column."

"Sure we're disappointed a bit in the season, but we don't take Nevada or any other team lightly. They're in the same bowl we are in so they had to be doing something right. We respect them just like we respect any other team. They have a pretty good running back. I've watched some film and we're definitely going to have to stop the run."

Despite the lackluster season, the defense was outstanding all year despite what was perceived to be a slow start for the defensive line.

"I think as a whole we probably started off kind of slow, but eventually everyone got into a groove and everyone picked it up and finished up successfully."

Acknowledging that a lack of pass rush hurt the defense a bit earlier in the season, McCray explained how that perceived weakness was turned into a strength later in the season.

"Everyone just challenged one another and took their game to the next level. It was a goal we had to show everybody that we are one of the best defenses if not the best in the country."

While past Miami defensive lines were known more for their ability to rush the passer, McCray, a defensive tackle, says he takes more pride in stopping the run.

"From a personal standpoint, I like to stop the run. Sacks are more for the ends, but I do enjoy those too," he said with a smile on his face. "Holding a team to under 100 yards rushing every game is pretty impressive though.

McCray helped the defense accomplish that goal primarily as a backup until earned a permanent starting job after the tragic death of Bryan Pata. He made the most of his opportunity, but believes he still must improve.

"I had an ok season. I just have to get better next year and take everything to the next level."

Helping him do that will be former defensive coordinator and new head coach Randy Shannon, with whom Teraz has a great deal of experience with.

"I'm very excited. I know what kind of coach he is. I've been around 4 years now so I know what he's like and I know what he expects from us. I'm not sure what changes he's going to make but whatever they are I'm sure they will be for the best."

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