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'Canes LBs lack favorable matchups

By MICHAEL SNYDER
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 22, 2002

MIAMI -- It wasn't injuries that prevented Miami's starting linebackers from lining up at the same time. And it wasn't poor performances.

Instead, it was a matter of matchups that prevented Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams and Howard Clark from being on the field together. The unit has not started together as Clark, the strong-side starter and a senior, was replaced by second-year freshman Rocky McIntosh before the game.

Clark's stepfather passed away last week. Clark's left thumb was heavily wrapped before the game, but it was unknown if that was why he did not play.

Miami's first opponents -- Florida A&M, Florida and Temple -- used spread offenses that necessitated the Hurricanes using five and six defensive backs. Vilma, a starter in the middle, said he only lined up with fellow linebackers about 10 plays.

Boston College has a more traditional offense featuring a two-back set that allowed Williams, the weak-side starter, and McIntosh to get in from the start.

Vilma, a junior, entered with a team-leading 18 tackles.

JOHNSON HEALTHY: Miami receiver Andre Johnson returned to the starting lineup after missing last week because of minor shoulder surgery. Quarterback Ken Dorsey completed a 15-yard pass to Johnson on the first play.

SAFETIES: With Jerome McDougle troubled by a partially torn pectoral muscle, Cornelius Green started at left defensive end. McDougle entered late in the first quarter. ... In a surprise move, sophomore Chris Myers started at right guard in place of senior Ed Wilkins. ... Defensive back James Scott (dislocated wrist) and tight end David Williams (fractured thumb) also missed the game. ... Former Hurricanes Phillip Buchanon, James Lewis, Bryant McKinnie, Ed Reed and Lamar Thomas were on the sideline. ... When Boston College's Sandro Sciortino kicked a 35-yard field goal with 14:21 left in the second quarter, it was the first time this season Miami has trailed.

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