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Rested Miami ready for West Virginia

Paul Schofield

Not that No. 2 Miami needed a rest, but coach Larry Coker said last week’s bye came at the right time for his team.

As the Hurricanes (1-0 Big East Conference, 4-0 overall) prepare for Thursday’s nationally televised game and Big East battle against West Virginia (0-0, 1-3), they were able to get some of their key offensive weapons time to rest their sore bodies.

“We have four games behind us, and the bye gave some players time to rest and recharge their batteries,” Coker said. “The rest was as much mentally for the players, as physically.

“I think Frank Gore benefited from the bye. Roscoe Parrish did, Quadtrine Hill did. We had several players who benefited from the time off. We had a lot of little nagging injuries.”

The Hurricanes are bidding for another national championship. They were shocked by Ohio State last January and despite only returning 11 starters from last year’s squad, the Hurricanes have been restocked. Rebuilding is a word that is not used at Miami.

Gone are quarterback Ken Dorsey, running back Willis McGahee and wide receiver Andre Johnson. They’re all in the NFL.

They been replaced by quarterback Brock Berlin, Gore at running back and Parrish at wide receiver.

“Miami is one of the best teams in the country, and it has one of the best programs in the country,” West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. “They have a tremendous amount of talent, and they are well coached.

“They just have to go across the street to recruit, and because of their success, they can go across country and get what they want. We’re facing a tremendous challenge.”

Other offensive players the Mountaineers need to worry about are tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and wide receivers Kevin Beard and Ryan Moore. Winslow is the son of former San Diego Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow.

“We’ve had some great tight ends over the years,” Coker said. “First of all, we’re looking for a person who will block. They have to be talented player with size and physical skills. But they also know they’ll be part of the offense at Miami.

“They have to be a complete player, who can catch and block. They know we’re going to use them in the offense.”

The 6-foot-5, 250 pound Winslow is the Hurricanes leading receiver. He has 15 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.

The strength of the defense is the linebackers and defensive backs. The Hurricanes graduated their entire defensive line. Linebackers Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams are the heart of the defense.

“We’re looking forward to an ESPN, nationally televised game,” Coker said. “It should be a tough game.

“West Virginia has lost a couple tough games. I’m sure we’ll get their best effort.”


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