Thus far this season Miami is 3-1 but more importantly 2-0 in the ACC. Even more significant, both of their conference wins have come on the road.
And they won both league games despite giving up a total combined 68 points. The Canes' offense has high-power potential, a threat that head coach Tom O'Brien is not taking lightly.
"Typical Miami, great speed, great athleticism, change of direction, power, explosiveness," O'Brien stated. "Guys in their offense, if they can get the football they can go all the way with it.
"They have tremendous skill, they have a quarterback that can throw the ball to them and they have guys that look like they are all 6-5, 6-6, 300-some pounds in front of them. The backs do a good job hiding behind them, and when they take off they are hard to catch, and they run through tackles. That's the other thing they do. [Mike] James and [Duke] Johnson both break tackles."
O'Brien also credited Miami for being versatile on offense, noting they like to change personnel frequently and can alternate between hurry-up and conventional offenses.
"We're going to have to do a good job of knowing whose on the field and we are going to have to make sure we have the right defensive guys on the field for what they have on the field on offense," O'Brien said.
Al Golden is in his second year as the Hurricanes' head coach. He arrived in Miami after a successful tenure at Temple.
O'Brien certainly has a connection with Golden. For three seasons (1997-99) Golden served as O'Brien's linebackers coach at Boston College. In that brief time Golden left an impression on O'Brien that leads the Pack coach to believe Golden will have Miami back to national prominence in due time.
"First of all he's smart," O'Brien noted. "He's a very intelligent guy. He's relentless, he's got a great work ethic. He's a players' coach. I'm sure that those kids down there love him. He's certainly super organized, always has been organized. He's got all the characteristics.
"Certainly once he withstands all the stuff going on down there, he can get going forward, and he'll get Miami back in the national championship game."
- NCSU will enter this week with redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy and freshman Shadrach Thornton at running back. O'Brien noted that Creecy could have played in emergency against The Citadel and seemed fine at practice Sunday.
Creecy had started two of the first three games and rushed 31 times for 130 yards and two scores. Thorrnton though, making his college debut last Saturday, impressed by rushing 21 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns against The Citadel.
"He really didn't miss anything," O'Brien noted. "He headed in the right direction, ran the right routes, did what he was supposed to do, which was good. With most kid you hope that after his first experience he'll be better this week and more prepared to do things."
- O'Brien did not have any updates on other potential injuries, and when asked specifically about junior left tackle Rob Crisp said that Crisp would either practice this week or be on the injury report Thursday. This will be the first injury report that NCSU has provided this year.
- Saturday will likely mark the return of fifth-year senior cornerback C.J. Wilson, who was suspended the first four games of the year for academic reasons. Wilson has started for much of the last three years and has three career interception returns for touchdowns, but he will likely be a nickel back if he can get back onto the field Saturday.
"We're going to start him off seeing where we can use him," O'Brien said. "Probably best chance to see is to get in to substitution defense right now and see what his conditioning is. It should be fine. Hopefully the skills haven't eroded, and he'll be able to help us.
- O'Brien, a Navy-grad, was pleased with the Military Appreciation Day activities last Saturday. He especially liked the video done by fifth-year senior safety Earl Wolff's mother, who is stationed overseas until November.
Wolff had received a heads up from his mother about it, and Wolff joked to O'Brien that it was a good thing for Wolff's emotions that he did.
"I thought that was particularly touching," O'Brien said.