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21 September 2011

Wildcats pose next test for Canes

 

Freshman tight end, Clive Walford, evades Ohio State players to score a touchdown. Zach Beeker//THe Miami Hurricane

For the first time all year, the Hurricanes (1-1) have practiced under normal conditions – a week with the entire cast of contributors accustomed to the team dynamics.

“The challenge for us this week is getting into our routine,” head coach Al Golden said. “This game is going to come up quickly for these guys, and there are no do-overs. There’s gotta be urgency here because every other week so far if we didn’t get it right we had a chance to go back, and we don’t have that this week.”

Consistency: a breath of fresh air for a team which has enjoyed no such luxury this season. With no additional players coming off suspensions until after the Hurricanes’ contest against Bethune-Cookman and sophomore offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson not expected back until next week, Golden and his staff were able to utilize this week of practice for Kansas State to build on top of the lessons learned from their last game against Ohio State.

“All I know is that I’m grateful to know who we have, and I’ll leave it at that,” Golden said. “Like I said after the Maryland game, we had enough talent to win there so certainly I’m not going to back off of that now that we played better in game two than we did game one, and I’m hoping that we can get even better this week.”

Kansas State (2-0), coached by stalwart and namesake of their home stadium Bill Snyder, travels to Miami Gardens facing their first true test of the season. The Wildcats do own the nation’s top-ranked defense, having allowed only seven points this season, but that fact is a bit of a misnomer when considering the competition. Their previous two opponents were Eastern Kentucky and Kent State, members of the Ohio Valley and Mid-American conferences, respectively, and combine for a record of 1-6 on the season.

But that is not to say the Wildcats are without playmakers on defense, specifically senior defensive tackle Ray Kibble, a 6-foot-4-inch, 305-lb senior from Houston. His presence may be the only real test for the Hurricanes’ offense, and will be the only real threat of thwarting another big performance from Lamar Miller.

“[Kibble] is as good as anybody we played last week [against Ohio State], if not better,” Golden said.

The spotlight on senior quarterback Jacory Harris was dimmed thanks to Lamar Miller’s 184-yard rushing explosion last week, but only temporarily. Again he faces questions as to why his inaccuracy problems still persist, in regard to the two interceptions he threw against the Buckeyes in his first game of the season. Though frustrated himself, Miller has stopped caring about the noise surrounding him from media and fans, caring only about the voices most important to him.

For the first time all year, the Hurricanes (1-1) have practiced under normal conditions – a week with the entire cast of contributors accustomed to the team dynamics.

“The challenge for us this week is getting into our routine,” head coach Al Golden said. “This game is going to come up quickly for these guys, and there are no do-overs. There’s gotta be urgency here because every other week so far if we didn’t get it right we had a chance to go back, and we don’t have that this week.”

Consistency: a breath of fresh air for a team which has enjoyed no such luxury this season. With no additional players coming off suspensions until after the Hurricanes’ contest against Bethune-Cookman and sophomore offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson not expected back until next week, Golden and his staff were able to utilize this week of practice for Kansas State to build on top of the lessons learned from their last game against Ohio State.

“All I know is that I’m grateful to know who we have, and I’ll leave it at that,” Golden said. “Like I said after the Maryland game, we had enough talent to win there so certainly I’m not going to back off of that now that we played better in game two than we did game one, and I’m hoping that we can get even better this week.”

Kansas State (2-0), coached by stalwart and namesake of their home stadium Bill Snyder, travels to Miami Gardens facing their first true test of the season. The Wildcats do own the nation’s top-ranked defense, having allowed only seven points this season, but that fact is a bit of a misnomer when considering the competition. Their previous two opponents were Eastern Kentucky and Kent State, members of the Ohio Valley and Mid-American conferences, respectively, and combine for a record of 1-6 on the season.

But that is not to say the Wildcats are without playmakers on defense, specifically senior defensive tackle Ray Kibble, a 6-foot-4-inch, 305-lb senior from Houston. His presence may be the only real test for the Hurricanes’ offense, and will be the only real threat of thwarting another big performance from Lamar Miller.

“[Kibble] is as good as anybody we played last week [against Ohio State], if not better,” Golden said.

The spotlight on senior quarterback Jacory Harris was dimmed thanks to Lamar Miller’s 184-yard rushing explosion last week, but only temporarily. Again he faces questions as to why his inaccuracy problems still persist, in regard to the two interceptions he threw against the Buckeyes in his first game of the season. Though frustrated himself, Miller has stopped caring about the noise surrounding him from media and fans, caring only about the voices most important to him.

“I really don’t care about what’s thought about outside. As long as this program still believes in me and still trusts me, I’m not really worried about it,” Harris said. “People can say whatever they want to say. [I’m] still the same person, because I know that those [interceptions] are things that can be corrected if I just do what I’m told.”

Junior quarterback Collin Klein leads Kansas State in both passing and rushing yards, utilizing his large frame and agility through a spread-option offense. At 6 feet 5 inches tall and 225 pounds, his style of running is not based off of pure speed, but rather his size and vision to keep his offense on track and not make mistakes.

After being listed as the starting defensive end for last Saturday’s win against Ohio State, senior Adewale Ojomo is tasked with keeping the fleet-footed Klein in check. Mobile quarterbacks have been a source of frustration for the Hurricane defense in the recent past. Even last game, Buckeye freshman Braxton Miller was able to find occasional running lanes in a defense that baffled Ohio State throughout most of the game.

But for Ojomo, the key to stopping Klein is elementary.

He likes to run the ball a lot; he’s the team’s leading rusher,” Ojomo said. “It’s not difficult [to stop an athletic quarterback], you just have to be disciplined and stay in your pass rush lane to keep him in the pocket.”

In a season of inconsistencies bordering on chaos, there are no remaining hurdles to clear in the foreseeable future – for this week at least.

The players are becoming comfortable with their roles, repertoires are being constructed among the units on the field, and finally for the players and coaches on this team, the game is the focus.

 

How to catch the game

Where: Sun Life Stadium

Coverage: ESPNU, WVUM (90.5 FM)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

 

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