Epps: Players are more comfortable now

Dedrick Epps had a productive day from the tight end position last Saturday against Texas A&M. The junior had three catches for 48 yards including a 36 yard play that showed what Epps can bring to the table for the Hurricanes. Read on to see what Epps had to say about his play last week and the upcoming ACC opener against UNC.

What did you think of the team's performance against Texas A&M?
"It's what we expected. We remember the game last year. We played Texas A&M and we did kind of the same thing. The whole week Coach Nix was saying, ‘it's going to be a dog fight. Don't sleep on the team and underestimate them.' We just went out there and played our game."

Last season you dominated Texas A&M and seemed to hit a wall right after. How do you prevent that from happening again?
"We just got to stay focused on our goals, take it one game at a time, and just concentrate."

Last year you guys lost to North Carolina on the road. Is there a feeling of redemption to start things off in ACC play with a win down here?
"Yeah. This is the start of ACC play so we're looking to take this win and keep going."

How did it feel to get your hands on the ball and have the opportunity to make plays last week?
"Coach Nix always says to expect the ball. Throughout the week in practice they throw us the ball a lot. We never know when we're going to get the ball or which game we're going to play. We just go out there with the mentality to expect the ball so when it does we're ready for it."

The receivers didn't get much of an opportunity to shine against Florida but things were different this past week. What did you think about how they did against the Aggies?
"The receivers, especially the young guys, they stepped up. They played well. They caught the ball, ran well, did their blocking. They did a good job."

Did Cooper's success on the ground give you guys the flexibility to throw it more?
"Yes it did. Cooper did help us out a lot. That made us more of a threat."

Robert Marve got his first win on the road in that environment. How do you feel for him?
"That will build up his confidence. Marve is a self-motivated person but that will definitely help build his confidence."

Why do you think the offense was so different this week as opposed to in the Florida game?
"We just focused going into the game and concentrated harder. We just focused on taking it one game at a time."

How much of a confidence boost is it for this team, especially the younger guys, to have such success on the road?
"Like I said about Marve, it probably did boost a lot of the young guys' confidence. Especially young freshmen like Thearon (Collier). He caught a touchdown and then a screen that he had called back. He knows what he can do now on the collegiate level. I think going into the games I think he'll be more comfortable now."

Coach Shannon had mentioned that you've improved every year since you've been here. How do you feel like you've progressed?
"I just try to work on my blocking more. I think that's the weakness in my game. I concentrate on that every day in practice and I try to take it a step further."

Is there any question that Robert Marve is the quarterback for this team?
"I think Marve and Jacory are. I think we have a two-headed serpent. We can play either one of them and I feel comfortable with either one in there."

Do you like having two quarterbacks or would you prefer having one?
"I prefer both of them. I think both of them could get the job done."

Butch Davis and Randy Shannon have a lot of history between them having coached together here at Miami. How important is it to you guys to get a win for Coach Shannon this week?
"I think that's what Coach really would like. He'd really like to get a win. For me personally, I'm playing because of last year when we lost up there. It means a lot to Coach Shannon."


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