Shannon explains his keys to the game

The Hurricanes will kick off the 2009 season next Monday night in Tallahassee against Florida State. Read on to see what Randy Shannon believes are the keys to the game, his thoughts on Florida State, how Miami stacks up, and much more.

On Florida State:
We got a big chance on Monday night against Florida State. It's a great rival, it's great for television, great for the ACC. Florida State is a tremendous team. Bobby Bowden has done a tremendous job. Offensively, Jimbo Fisher has done a great job wherever he's been. Christian Ponder's done a phenomenal job of not making mistakes and giving defenses a chance to capitalize. Offensive line wise, Coach Trickett has done a great job getting those guys ready. They fly around, give the quarterback a chance to pass and do a good job in the run game. Defensively, Mickey Andrews is a unique coach. When I was a player, he was a coach at Florida State. Coach Amato also. They will be stout on defense. They may be young but they'll be ready to play.

On the keys to the game:
The keys to this game will be turning the ball over -- who can have less turnovers -- and tackling on defense. The first game the biggest thing is if you can tackle you can get off the field. Offensively, if you turn the ball over it's a long night for you.

On FSU scoring 41 last year:
You gotta be able to stop the run. What it comes down to is if you can stop the run, you can make it a typical game you wanna address. You let the pass rush get after the quarterback, get them into long yardage situations. Last year we weren't able to do that. They did a great job running with Ponder and mixing in their tailbacks.

On the improvement UM has made:
We're a better football team just because of experience. We're a young football team but a lot of those guys last year got key experience as far as being in tough situations and that's vital for this game against Florida State.

On Bobby Bowden:
When you look up to Coach Bowden, he's one of a few guys in the coaching profession you say you wish you could be like him. He's a gentleman, he's great with recruits, great with parents, a unique coach. Football wise, you can't say more about him. When he steps down, they're losing a great person in college football.

On Bowden's losses to UM over the years:
Everyone will talk about wide right, wide left. Those were phenomenal games. He's won two national championships and that's one thing you can say about Coach Bowden. His team's always there.

On Monday night football:
It's Monday night football. That's the biggest thing. You always say the NFL is for Monday nights. It's a great recruiting tool. It's the only game that will be on TV. Somebody mentioned to me the other day that it's gonna be on in Kuwait for the armed services to watch the game. That makes it special. My tenure over there was fun. At 3:30 in the morning you're watching the NBA Finals. One thing unique about the militatry is that you'll have 1,000 people on base watching the game, another 1,000 guarding the base, and another 1,000 getting sleep. It'll be good for everyone.

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