UM Football

Miami Hurricanes focused on stopping the run

 

The Hurricanes aren’t taking the bait on trash talk and have opted to focus on defending the Gators’ running attack and occasional downfield strikes.

 
University of Miami's Justin Renfrow leaps in front of Florida Atlantic University's quarterback Greg Hankerson in the first quarter of a football game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Aug. 30, 2013.
University of Miami's Justin Renfrow leaps in front of Florida Atlantic University's quarterback Greg Hankerson in the first quarter of a football game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Aug. 30, 2013.
CHARLES TRAINOR JR / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

More information

BY THE NUMBERS

A look at the UM defense’s showing during a win over FAU in its season debut last Friday:

129

Rushing yards allowed, holding the Owls to an average of 3.7 yards per carry and 17 total first downs.

247

Total yards allowed, tied for 20th in the nation after the first week.


sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

With five sacks — more than a third of its total production in 2012 — the University of Miami defense showed some moxie in its season debut last Friday against Florida Atlantic.

But off the field this week, the Hurricanes refused to bite for those who wanted to spark some smack before the No.12 Gators came to town.

“I’m not going to talk any trash,” said senior safety Kacy Rodgers II, whose sack forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive end David Gilbert, and led to a touchdown in UM’s 34-6 victory. “I’m going to play my game and play level-headed.”

Do you hate Florida as much as you do Florida State?

Rodgers smiled. “They’re a good team and they’re the next team on the schedule.”

Sophomore cornerback Tracy Howard, a former five-star recruit who intended to go to Florida (1-0) until he announced that the Hurricanes were his team, was asked how much the Florida game means to him.

“It ain’t no personal thing,” Howard said. “I know a lot of guys from the FAU team — it’s no different from Florida. Of course, once upon a time I was going there, but it’s all business. It’s football. I’m at the University of Miami and my plan is all about the U.”

And this, from Gilbert: “I don’t really have any comment about Florida players. We’re going to be professional. We’re going to represent the Hurricane family in a first-class manner.”

No trash talking?

“No, not for me. We’re a class act and hopefully those guys are.”

The Canes, by now well chronicled as one of the worst defenses in the nation in 2012, appeared to take a substantial leap forward Friday. After one week, Miami was tied for 20th in the nation in total defense with their 250 yards allowed. It’s apparent coach Al Golden has them focused on their significantly upgraded challenge Saturday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.

Golden has repeatedly targeted the Gators run game.

“They control the clock,” he said. “That’s who they are. That’s their trademark.

“They have a veteran offensive line — great size. They’ll bring an extra lineman in and play with multiple tight ends. Big fullback, two big backs. If they can run the ball on us, it’s going to be a long day.”

Earlier this week, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, whose dink-and-dunk passing game against Toledo encompassed 17 completions of 22 attempts for 153 yards and a touchdown, agreed that the Gators “want to run the ball ... That really doesn’t change.”

Still, Driskel, whose longest pass went for 26 yards, said he “would have liked to have taken advantage” of his few shots downfield. He also fumbled twice after sacks.

“People want to criticize because that’s the way Coach [Will Muschamp] chooses to conduct the game, and he’s done it successfully,” Golden said. “Our guys better be ready to cover them deep because they’re talented.”

Golden said the Gators, who defeated Toledo 24-6, get opponents to focus on the run and then take their shot.

“I think their quarterback is big-league.”

Rodgers just hopes the Canes’ defensive line can give enough push to frazzle Driskel. He likes what he has seen so far.

“They’ve gotten so much better,” Rodgers said. “It’s a joy to play with them in front of me. I see them hustle a lot more. When the offense runs screens and you see the big boys running sideline to sideline it gives you a lot more energy.”

Read more UM stories from the Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category