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CFB: Hurricanes Wednesday Practice Report


Coral Gables, FL– The University of Miami Hurricanes are ready for a big time coastal ACC match up with North Carolina this weekend.  Both teams need wins badly and this could go a long way in deciding who will end up playing for an ACC Championship in Orlando this December.  With the Canes facing Virgina Tech on a short week, a win Saturday will do wonders for their ACC hopes.  But they will likely need to win both games as a loss to FSU muddied the waters a bit for the Hurricanes. Here are notes from practice today as provided by the University of Miami.

Head Coach Mark Richt:

Opening Statement…

“Wednesday. Work day. Overall, it was a good day. We got it in. It took a little extra time for the offense to get it right after practice, but better than yesterday, so that’s a good sign. We just have to make sure we get every assignment right, every technique right, all the effort right on every snap. We have to script the plays that we’re going to run, and it’s all designed to be done within the framework of the practice time, but it took us just a little bit longer. It’s not all that unusual.”

On what he told the offense after Tuesday’s practice and if he saw anything differently…

“I told the offense, ‘Here’s the script. We’re going to run these plays, and we’re going to run them right. If you don’t, we’ll run them again. If we don’t get them done in time, we’ll run them after practice or early tomorrow. If we have to go to school, we’ll do it at a time when there’s no responsibilities.’ I just said that everybody in America has to make a decision about whether you’re going to get better or get worse today, whether you survive the day or you thrive today – what’s it going to be? You choose. This game is about players. Coaching matters, but they’re the ones who got to do it, got to want it, got to care enough…I’m trying to make them understand that.”

On how next week’s Thursday game affects practice for this coming Saturday’s game as far as timing and preparation…

“Not right now. We do have a plan set for next week, which we had the discussion as a staff about how we wanted to handle it. We will not practice Sunday. Monday will go like a Tuesday, Tuesday will go like a Wednesday and Wednesday will go like a Thursday. Right up [after] that practice Wednesday…we’ll get right on the bus and get ready to go.”

On having injuries…

“We got issues there. We cut down a little bit of the team time against each other, the higher tempo. If you’re going to have a guy injured in practice – which you shouldn’t, even in that format, because we do everything ‘thud’ and everyone stays up – there’s a greater chance of something happening in that drill than against the scouts. We cut it down – not a lot, a little bit. Yesterday, we cut down eight plays, which is a decent amount, then today, we only cut out four plays. Because we had to work on our third downs and our red zone stuff.”

On how quarterback Brad Kaaya practiced Wednesday…

“I don’t even think twice about it. He just came out to practice and got to work. No doubt. We just want him healthy first…I’m triggering a bunch of questions. I’m not in there lecturing as much as asking, ‘What do you do on this? What do you do on that? What’s your read on here? What’s your progression?’

On North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky…

“I’ve watched some, but other than that, I haven’t studied him. I’ve seen in a couple of games on TV. They do a lot of run-pass option. Last week, we played Florida State’s defense, so we’re watching North Carolina’s offense versus Florida State’s defense. I definitely got to look at him. He’s impressive.”

Manny Diaz – Defensive Coordinator

On the linebackers against FSU…

“The biggest thing was that it never appeared as if the stage was too big for them. Which you don’t know until you step out on the field. I thought they continued to play fast and physical. They didn’t do everything right but they are doing what we ask them to do, in terms of how we want them to play.”

On the physical test of the linebackers playing through four quarters…

“They held up well. Of course there were a lot of sore bodies on both sides, since it was an extraordinary physical game. But when I watched us towards the end, I did not feel as if our guys ever backed down.”

On Chad Thomas’ hand in a club…

“During the week it is just for protection and our trainers will put him in the best position to play. But again you play the game of football with your feet first and those are in fine shape.”

On Jaquan Johnson…

“We could use a few more Jaquan Johnson’s, because he can help us in so many ways. When we are in the media room we think about how great it would be to play him here or there. We don’t have enough Jaquan’s to go around for all the places he could help the football team. Certainly he will play a big role this weekend, but we have felt since the spring that he was one of our top guys.”

On the challenge North Carolina’s offense presents…

“The first thing is getting lined up. There tempo will be as fast as anything we have seen this year. They are a team that executes at a very high level. They have great running backs and receivers and they have tight ends that do an excellent job as both blockers and receivers. And of course they have a talented quarterback who orchestrates the entire offense. So they are very similar to the challenges presented last week, in the fact that they are a very balanced team being able to both run and throw the football. But the biggest challenge that they will present will be the tempo. Because the questions our guys will face will be are you walking around when they are set to snap the football, are your eyes not in the right position and can we make plays on the ball downfield? We know they will pass the ball down the field often and it will be a great challenge for our guys going against a couple tall wide outs that can go out and get it.”

On Ryan Switzer, North Carolina’s top receiver…

“He has played so much football and he is so aware of where all the pockets are in pass coverage. Certainly he is a guy they lean very heavily on, but a lot of his throws come on bubble screens and wide receiver screens where it gets tossed to him and it counts as a catch. There are a lot of ways they can use him and we also have to be aware every time we punt the football because he is always a threat to score. But then again where we are in our league right now, is that every week we will be playing against great players and our guys are going to have to step up to that challenge.”

On Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina’s starting quarterback…

“The biggest thing is that he is one of the guys in the point guard era of quarterbacking. He has a great understanding of where to go with the ball. Almost, all of their run plays come with a pass option off of it, so he has a great knack for having the ball in his running backs stomach before immediately finding one of his guys down the field. He really knows how to orchestrate, sort of pull the strings, on when do I hand it off, throw it or get the ball out to Switzer on the bubble screen. A lot of their plays have three options. They may run an off tackle play, but they will have a bubble screen and a slant to fall back on as well. So you need a quarterback to understand where all the pieces are on the field to understand where of the three options the play should go. Which Trubisky can do very well.”

Chad Thomas, Jr., Defensive Line

On any adjustments that need to be made involving the cast…

“No, it’s only a cast to protect my hand for the next game, but no adjustments are needed to be made.”

On not having Gerald Willis this week…

“We work hard every day in practice, listening to what coach has to tell us. Having Gerald out is definitely a loss but the next man up has to step up and play.”

On North Carolina’s up-tempo offense…

“It is definitely going to challenge us. We have to play hard, fast, get back to the ball and stay alert and be ready for the challenge they present.”

Kendrick Norton, So., Defensive Line

On North Carolina’s backfield…

“They have a great backfield and each of their guys run hard. They are great backs, they are division I backs, so we are heading into Saturday’s expecting a battle.”

Corn Elder, Sr., Defensive Back

On last season’s game and what that means to this season’s game…

“We are just focused on this season and what we are trying to do this year. Last year’s game is in the past and we need to remain focused for Saturday’s game.”

On avoiding the hangover against FSU…

“We let them know as soon as the game concluded that the FSU game is in the past. We came into practice the next morning, went over the film, fixed what we needed to fix and moved on. We can only focus on what is in front of us and that is North Carolina.”

Rayshawn Jenkins, R-Sr., Defensive Back

On the deep ball…

“We have guys that can definitely run with them and compete with the deep ball, so we are really not too worried about that. We just have to worry about the other things they will try and trick us with. The up-tempo offense and trying to trick us with different formations. So we have to get adjusted to a lot of the different things that they do well.”

On the up-temp offense of North Carolina…

“The challenge is that you have to line up fast and recognize their sets. Then we have to put a defense too. It happens very quick and we have to get lined up and ready to play as quickly as possible.”

Jaquan Johnson, So., Defensive Back

On the call against Jamal Carter…

“Honestly, I don’t really know how you can avoid it. It is a physical play and a quick call for the ref. They ultimately made the decision, though, and we have to live with it.”

Sheldrick Redwine, So., Defensive Back

On preparing for Saturday…

“By watching extra film. I am out their getting extra work in the coaches questions to better prepare myself. Jamal Carter is a big loss for us in the first half, so I have to step up and fill that role for him. I am looking forward to it and Jamal has been teaching me all the ins and outs and showing me everything he sees on a given play. So I am looking forward to Saturday.

Braxton Berrios, Jr., Wide Receiver

On the punt return last weekend against FSU…

“Everyone on the team did a great job in blocking and I saw a hole and hit it.”

On returning punts for touchdowns…

“I have always thought it was there and that I could. That is the plan every time. As long as there is a whole and everyone does their jobs, just like I am supposed to do my job, then it should be an every time occurrence.”

On having the younger understand there is still a long season ahead after a tough loss against FSU…

“It starts with North Carolina. We are right in the driver seat of the Coastal if we beat North Carolina. If not then we have a long road ahead of us and it will be other team’s jobs to lose it really. If we beat North Carolina then we are in the driver seat and as long as we do not lose we will be in the ACC Championship game.”

 

 

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