University of Miami

Mark Richt readies for biggest week as Hurricanes coach

Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt greets the crowd at the unveiling of the team’s new Adidas uniforms last month.
Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt greets the crowd at the unveiling of the team’s new Adidas uniforms last month. Miami Herald staff photo

Mark Richt had words of warning for Miami Hurricanes fans already planning their tailgate plans for Saturday's big game against visiting Florida State: “Save a little energy for the game. I know it’s a long tailgate. Pace yourselves.”

Speaking on his weekly Monday morning spot on WQAM's Joe Rose Show, Richt broached a number of topics including recapping Saturday’s ACC opener against Georgia Tech as well as looking ahead to the big rivalry game against the Seminoles Saturday at 8 p.m. (ABC-10) at Hard Rock Stadium.

As far as the Seminoles go, Richt said FSU is a “a really good team” despite ACC losses to Louisville and North Carolina in two of its past three games.

Florida State started out 2-0 before getting steamrolled 63-20 by the host Cardinals on Sept 17.

The Seminoles bounced back by beating USF by 20 at Raymond James before losing in Tallahassee 37-35 on a game-ending 54-yard field goal by the Tar Heels.

Miami, now ranked No. 10 nationally, hasn't beaten FSU since Jacory Harris and the Hurricanes won a Labor Day classic in Tallahassee in 2009.

The Hurricanes haven't beaten FSU at home since they did so in the Orange Bowl in 2004.

“I know they have two losses, but they’ve played some really outstanding football teams,'' Richt said. “You play Ole Miss, Louisville and North Carolina — that’s Murderers’ Row in the first five games.

“We’re about to hit our Murderers’ Row. We’ll see how we do. I know our fans will be off the chain.”

The Hurricanes are 4-0 under Richt, the former Miami quarterback who coached at FSU under Bobby Bowden for over a decade and served as FSU's offensive coordinator before taking over at Georgia.

Miami opened with with lopsided home wins over FAMU and FAU before going on the road and beating Appalachian State (45-10) and Georgia Tech (35-21).

The Canes are 1-0 in the ACC after beating the Yellow Jackets on Saturday but now have a new challenge in former Miami Central star Dalvin Cook and the Seminoles.

“I was just talking to [defensive coordinator] Manny Diaz about how Cook stacks up against the best backs in the SEC,” Richt said. “He ranks right there with the best of them. And [FSU] knows what they’re doing, blocking up front. They really can run or throw the ball equally well and [Cook] is the centerpiece of that.”

On Miami getting back-to-back touchdowns on defense against Georgia Tech to go up 28-7:

“I loved it,'' Richt said. "It's great to score on offensively for sure, but when the defense scores it's a different feeling. I think we scored three times with two minutes off the clock. That's about how long it takes [Georgia Tech] to run two plays. That's pretty good."

On Georgia Tech's clock-hogging, triple option offense:

“It's no fun, and that's exactly how they want you to feel. You know it's coming. It's like sand through the hourglass. You just watch it run out. It's miserable."

On the play of breakout freshmen such as Shaquille Quarterman, Joseph Jackson and Michael Pinckney:

“They probably won't be talking to the media for a while because they don't seem to do a good job with that yet. But it is fun watching them have success, I can tell you that."

On ball management:

“We didn't turn the ball over and turnovers, in a game like that, tell the story. They gave up three, and we gave up none. And you could say we forced those three turnovers and turned them into points."

On Miami's defense:

“The main thing is the attitude you have to have; you have get a little mad on defense. [Georgia Tech] is coming after you, they're going to go low over and over and over. That's how they do it. It's legal most of the time, it's football. If you keep getting sliced up, you're going to be in trouble."

On FSU prep:

“On the plane ride home I watched our game, and I already had my computer loaded up. When I got home, I got a couple of hours in.”

On the play of quarterback Brad Kaaya:

“We haven’t thrown the ball all that much, like 99 times — the second least in the league. Look at the pass efficiency and it’s really good.”

The Hurricanes will also break out their new, old-school uniforms Saturday against the Seminoles.

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