After Monday’s practice and before the NCAA news broke, the Miami Hurricanes did talk to the media. Though the NCAA has dominated much of the coverage of this team over the past few days, the Hurricanes appear focused on their task this weekend. Much of the conversation was about the past game at North Carolina but the team did look ahead to a solid Wake Forrest team who will visit Miami this Saturday at noon.
The Hurricanes are fresh off a close road win versus the Tar Heels in which they staved off a last minute comeback after taking the lead with only 16 seconds remaining in the game.
Now, they get a strong Wake Forrest team at 2-2 in the conference and who are coming to Miami fresh off of two consecutive conference wins against N.C. State and Maryland.
“Jim Grobe is a phenomenal coach,” said Coach Al Golden on Monday. “What he’s done the last two weeks out and then he’s had a bye week to get some other things squared away. They’re playing really well.”
Coach Golden knows that this Wake Forrest team presents some unique challenges that will test his Hurricanes.
“They’ve got some guys on their team, this Michael Campanaro, if we don’t take the game plan and do something against Campanaro like the mistakes we made against [Eric] Ebron, we’re asking for the same result.”
Campanaro is Wake Forrest’s all-world wide receiver. He’s got 55 receptions for 704 yards through seven games. The Demon Deacons also have a stud on defense. And Golden is keenly aware.
“This number 50 for them, [Nikita] Whitlock, this guys is good now and you better account for those guys. There’s others. But those are guys that are just difference makers. They’re healed up, they’ve had some time up they’ve made some changes they’re playing fast and it’s got our guys attention. Plus we have to play better. We turned the ball over four times in critical situations.”
Turnovers are uncharacteristic for team’s Golden has coached since he’s been in Miami but he’s taking responsibility and trying to turn things around with leadership and continuing to coach his team to trust the process they adhere too, limiting freelancing that he says is killing them.
One leader he’ll continue to look to is junior defensive end Anthony Chickillo, especially since the Hurricanes have moved to No. 7 in the BCS rankings and are beginning to catch some national buzz. Chickillo seems up to the challenge and will help mold guys and keep them from looking ahead.
“Just sharing with the young guys, my knowledge, I’ve started a lot of games, just teaching them the process and how to do things.”
He’s not too concerned about the top 10 ranking either.
“We really don’t pay attention much to that, we only control what we can control. We just take it one game, Wake Forrest is the focus this week, they have a good team and we’ve got to be ready for them.”
Even though the Hurricanes had to battle through lots of adversity and some key injuries, most notably to wide out Phillip Dorsett who will miss 4-6 weeks with an MCL tear, they got key minutes from Dallas Crawford in relief of Duke Johnson at running back. Crawford’s teammates knew he was up to the challenge.
“We’ve always seen him juking guys, making people miss and running people over. We weren’t surprised but we were definitely excited,” said fifth year senior offensive lineman Jared Wheeler.
Ironically, Wheeler has a brother named Jake, who plays offensive line for Maryland and is familiar with Wake’s Whitlock and offered his older brother some tips.
“He said ‘yeah get on him, don’t let him go around you so fast.’ He’s quick, he’s fast.”
Overall, coach Golden wants his team to remain focused and not take their eyes off of what’s made them successful and undefeated to date. For him, that means trusting what got the team here. But he knows there are temptations.
“You fight human nature, no matter what. We’re just trying to keep them internally driven and focused on a process and let that deliver…It’s a challenge, There’s cheese all around, don’t take the cheese, don’t take the trap. You have a guy here or there and all of a sudden they’re seduced by it. They want to hear about it, they want to talk about it. It has nothing to do with the outcome. Doing your job, preparing, asking questions being engaged, understanding you role doing all those little things. That’s what we need to focus on. That’s what we need leadership right now for.”
The Hurricanes play Wake Forrest at 12 p.m. EST at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday October 26th in Miami Gardens. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
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