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Miami

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

August 25, 2003 The Big Picture ACC fans looking for a reference point to help them place the Miami program in the proper perspective don't have to look too far: Think Florida State, during the Seminoles' ridiculous run of top-five national finishes, only with more national championships over the long haul. The Hurricanes have captured the mythical title five times, in 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2001, and they came one questionable yellow flag away from a repeat last season, when they averaged more than 40 points a game. Miami is the winningest Division I-A program (35-2) of this century. It has won a national-best 22 straight home games and a league-record 24 consecutive Big East contests, and it has produced 13 first-round NFL draft picks just in the last three seasons. Third-year head coach Larry Coker has the third-best start (24-1) in the history of the sport. Get the idea? The PooP If there are any college football fans left who still think of the Hurricanes as a trash-talking, trouble-making, probation-causing band of police-blotter thugs, they need to step back out of the time machine. Undoubtedly, the program often lived down to its ugly reputation back when it was winning titles for Jimmy Johnson (1984-88) and Dennis Erickson (1989-94). In fact, when Miami popped up as a possible ACC expansion candidate several times in the 1990s, it was voted down in large part for that very reason. But Butch Davis (1995-2000) successfully led the team out of a difficult probation period and helped clean up its tattered image along the way. Under Coker, the Canes are still plenty cocky, but they usually stay on the right side of the line. Building Blocks This is a long list. The secondary returns all four starters, and each is a legit candidate for national honors. Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams and Roger McIntosh form a ridiculously talented and experienced set of linebackers. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is an NFL-style mountain of a man. Offensive tackle Vernon Carey is the latest in a long line of dominating blockers. Tight end Kellen Winslow is just as good as his Hall of Fame father. Tailback Frank Gore, back from the injured list, will remind people why he was starting ahead of 2002 Heisman candidate Willis McGahee before his injury last spring. Coming On Strong The number of talented receivers who feel they have something to prove this fall is frightening. Kevin Beard is coming back from an ACL injury. Return ace Roscoe Parrish and redshirt freshman Ryan Moore are looking forward to their first extensive action. Devin Hester, a 2002 signee, could make a big splash after finally enrolling in January. If all-world true freshman tailback Tyrone Moss can learn the playbook, he'll get plenty of playing time behind Gore. Done For Me Lately  

Year

Big East

Overall

Postseason

1993

6-1 (2)

9-3

Fiesta Bowl (L)

1994

7-0 (1)

10-2

Orange Bowl (L)

1995

6-1 (1)

8-3

None

1996

6-1 (1)

9-3

Carquest Bowl (W)

1997

3-4 (5)

5-6

None

1998

5-2 (2)

9-3

MicronPC Bowl (W)

1999

6-1 (2)

9-4

Gator Bowl (W)

2000

7-0 (1)

11-1

Sugar Bowl (W)

2001

7-0 (1)

12-0

Rose Bowl (W)

2002

7-0 (1)

12-1

Fiesta Bowl (L)

Big East: 60-10 (.857)
Overall: 94-26 (.783) Cause For Concern? It's never easy to break in a new quarterback. Florida transfer Brock Berlin is the starter, but he hasn't always displayed the field savvy or decision-making skills Miami fans grew accustomed to during a 38-2 run under the departed Ken Dorsey. Backup Derrick Crudup is no sure thing, either. The Hurricanes' options at defensive end pale in comparison to the talent available at almost every other position. The newcomers at kicker and punter didn't inspire much confidence during preseason drills. The Whole Truth “I hope we're that good (preseason No. 3). I don't know that we are. We're not that good right now. I know that.”

— Miami coach Larry Coker CHART BY: THE MIAMI INSIDER