Even though the Miami Hurricanes possess the nation’s longest active winning streak at 30, they have had to work harder to get the wins in the last few games. They ended up defeating Rutgers this past Saturday 42-17, only by going on a 28-0 run in the final quarter. Senior Center Brett Romberg doesn’t believe there should be much concern.
“We never really thought we were going to lose the football game. It was just a matter of finding something to get us moving,” explained Romberg, who is from Ontario, Canada. “Because everything that we were doing, we would either get a penalty or get called back or throw a pick or something wrong would happen, and we just needed to start getting on a rhythm and fix the little things one by one. Once we got on the rhythm things were pretty easy.”
The new BCS standings were released this past Monday. Miami fans were not pleased to see that the ‘Canes depleted to No. 3, behind Okalahoma and Ohio State.
“I don’t care what anyone thinks about winning 42-17, because the last time I checked, are the BCS computers concerned about first quarters or second quarters? Is it the third quarter score that they count?” asked Art Kehoe, Miami’s Offensive Line coach. “Is a win against Rutgers less than a win against Florida State? Is that how they count it? Is that how were going to look at it? Seriously! At the end of the year a win is a win. The object is to win, and we’re winning – so what’s the problem?”
Romberg explained that he felt the difference between last season and this year was that it was a whole new group of guys. There are a lot of new younger guys, and of course they will give up some sacks in the beginning as he and his co-freshmen did when they began playing for UM. But as they continue to play together they will become more in sync and be able to cut down on the mental mistakes.
“Some complacency was hitting the team a little bit and it’s just tough for them because they wanted so much,” Romberg said. “However I think the guys are really focusing down and they are realizing they can win the national championship and can have a good Christmas, and not sit at home watching as someone else plays.”
A little binge of scolding overcame Romberg these last few weeks. He felt that they have been excelling during practices, which frustrated him when getting in sticky situations when coming to game-time.
“Apparently the last two weeks we have been practicing very well. That’s why I was surprised to see what happened this past Saturday,” explained Romberg. “Throughout the week we have been working really hard. A lot of the guys are doing the little things that they need to do in order to get back to the basics of what we were doing before. The little things like that, getting the foundation back is what we need to do, and that is what I keep telling them.”
Romberg and Kehoe agreed that practices this past week were very promising.
“Do we have things to fix? Every team has things to fix,” Kehoe said. “There isn’t anyone who has ever played a perfect game. We work on things every day and we address problems at every meeting. But we know, that every time we put our feet on the field, we’re getting the A game from whoever we play and our guys know they need to be ready or they will get their butts whipped!”
After the third quarter at Rutgers, Miami’s coaching staff calmly and rationally talked to the team and simply asked, “Hey guys, are we going to win this or not?” They continued to explain that the players needed to eliminate the mental mistakes and stick to the game plan.
“Maybe I am bias because I’m with the university of Miami, but I look at that game and say we had a 70 yard punt return, a 50 yard kick return, a 65 yard pass, a 25 yard run, an 18 yard run, a 17 yard run, all called back for penalties,” Kehoe stated. “You got to think that we were the better team, and if we were a little sharper, we would’ve spanked them. But we still won.”
The BCS standings are not discouraging the players or the coaches at University of Miami, if anything; they are more determined to win out.
“Its really that simple. I don’t care what computers think, or what the media thinks,” announced Kehoe. “Its really irrelevant, it only matters what the university of Miami thinks. It only matters how we prepare. It only matters if we win this week, that’s all that matters.”
People seem to say that the Hurricanes are not playing well, or up to their potential. Well, maybe they’re not. But if anything, they are more focused now than ever after playing on the edge with defeat. Maybe the team has or will feel guilty one day for playing poorly and winning out, but the object is to win. And in the words of Larry Coker, “Never take winning for granted.”
You can reach Dana Strokovsky at Hoopg1rl6@aol.com.