"I think it will be a big step for us for our season that we plan on having." Colin McCarthy said following the September 4th press conference. "We have twelve steps and we have one done already and we have eleven more. Going to Oklahoma will be a big game for us, and we are looking to play hard."
Against Marshall, McCarthy tallied 6 tackles, all solo efforts, and sees tackling as one of the most important aspects of the upcoming showdown versus Oklahoma.
The Hurricanes defense will certainly have their hands full, however. Oklahoma is coming off a 79-10 thrashing of North Texas where they totaled 668 total yards on offense. The Sooners, a physical running team amounted for 265 of those yards on the ground.
"They are supposed to be real physical when it comes to their running backs," he said. "There offensive line is big so we are prepared to stop the run as far as going downhill."
In the backfield, Miami will have to face redshirt freshman Demarco Murray – a player the Hurricanes recruited out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada – and his backfield mate Allen Patrick.
McCarthy thinks shutting down the running game with sound tackling is paramount to Miami's success Saturday versus the Sooners.
"Once you make the contact, you either bring them down or bring them back," he said. Against OU we plan to wrap them up. Once we make first contact, we need someone there to help bring him back."
Murray, in his collegiate debut, scored five times off 17 carries for 87 yards versus North Texas. Patrick is a 2006 All-Big XII honorable mention selection who will play in his first game this Saturday versus Miami.
"He is a real explosive running back," McCarthy said when discussing Murray. "He is not afraid to go downhill and run you over."
Oklahoma had four pass plays go over 20 yards, including two scores off of missed tackles that allowed Oklahoma receivers to advance the ball after the catch versus North Texas.
In contrast, the Hurricanes didn't allow a single play over 20 yards after a missed tackle versus Marshall. This is an area that McCarthy feels they match up well against Oklahoma – matching the physicality of the Sooner pass catchers.
"Our corners and safeties in coverage are big physical and I don't think it'll be a problem," he said. "With the defensive line and linebackers chasing the ball we will be able to hold them to a little less than North Texas did."