Raise your hand if you thought the Miami Hurricanes might self-destruct by the time they lost their fourth consecutive game after starting the streak with a one-point loss to Florida State on Oct. 8.
Even Hurricanes coach Mark Richt wasn’t sure, he acknowledged Monday during his weekly radio show on WQAM 560.
Miami, now 7-4, has come back strong with victories against Pittsburgh, Virginia and North Carolina State after losing to FSU, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame as it heads into its regular-season finale against Duke at 3:30 p.m Saturday (ESPN2) at Hard Rock Stadium.
Richt credited a strong bond among his players and some “tough love’’ as important factors in the rebound.
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“The thing that’s most important is from January until the season you’ve got an opportunity to build a team, to build unity, to build cohesiveness, to build loyalty toward each other,’’ Richt told WQAM.
“You can’t all of a sudden manufacture it in that heated moment or in that time of adversity. You’ve got to be ready to be strong enough to withstand it because of the fact that you have already developed a lot of those things along the way. Our coaches and players have been buying in from the very beginning.”
Richt said he told the players how proud he was of them after the win against Pitt, and that they know he respects them.
“You always get concerned when you know these guys are young … and you don’t know what they’ve been through in their life, you don’t know what they’ve been through really here as a player,” Richt said. “When you treat guys with love and respect from the very beginning and you give them tough love sometimes with discipline and they know you treat everybody with the respect that they deserve and the love they deserve, I think they reciprocate that when things get tough.”
▪ Miami students have Thanksgiving week off, so UM has pushed back practice Tuesday and Wednesday to begin two hours later than usual.
▪ Richt is only allowing seniors to speak to the media this week as they head into Senior Day.