The Hurricanes have been practicing with plenty of crowd noise blasting this week at Greentree Field to prepare for Thursday night, but it likely won’t be as intense as what they face at Kenan Memorial Stadium.
“It’s a big challenge,” UM offensive coordinator James Coley said. “It’s going to be a hostile environment. It’s going to be loud. We’re going to get their best this season.
“Your adrenaline is going, the game is physical. You try to simulate the best you can, but it’s never going to be the same as it is on Thursday night.”
So, with all that noise, how do you keep the communication going on the offensive line, especially with all the recent switching of positions?
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“Are you trying to get my stomach to hurt?” Coley said, laughing. “It’s very important. Guys need to be in tune. That’s why we practice the crowd noise and we make it hard in practice to switch guys in and switch guys out. The biggest thing when you practice with crowd noise is watching the film afterward. That’s the biggest teacher.
“Now we get back in there and say, ‘Hey, what happened here?’
‘Well, I thought this and I thought that.’
“And you can start cleaning things up, where you can say, ‘No, you’ve got to handle this call,’ or ‘Quarterback, you need to redirect this play at that point.’
“Things have got to be quick. It’s got to be one-syllable words. But it’s always a challenge.”
LINDER, FELICIANO SWAP
Two of the mainstays on the offensive line, Brandon Linder and Jon Feliciano, swapped positions after the beginning of UM’s last game, against Georgia Tech, and they each said they enjoyed the switch.
Feliciano started at right tackle, and Linder at right guard. The two switched after the first quarter. The newest depth chart had Linder at right tackle and Feliciano at left guard.
“The biggest difference is at tackle you’re out in space a little bit more and inside you’re kind of mauling and going against bigger guys,” Linder said. “Outside you use more technique and you’re able to do stuff on your own.”
Said Feliciano: “I like guard a little better. At right tackle you have a little more time to think about stuff. At guard everything happens so fast. You have to deal with the big boys in the middle.”
DUKE JOHNSON WATCH
Duke Johnson has 3,014 career all-purpose yards and is on pace to break Santana Moss’s career record of 4,394 yards. Johnson has eight games of at least 200 all-purpose yards — including two games of 300 yards.
Johnson leads Miami in rushing with 572 yards and four touchdowns on 84 carries, for averages of 6.8 yards per carry and 114.4 yards per game.
Twice in the last game, Johnson carried the ball for a career-high five consecutive plays.
Coley was asked if Johnson could go even longer.
“Depending on the play,” Coley said. “If he breaks one for 20 [yards] and he breaks the next one for 20, you’ve got to see how he’s doing and where we’re at in the game and how physical the game has gone. He’s in pretty good condition. At the same time, we need to know how he’s doing when he gets up from that pile.”