CORAL GABLES, - The Hurricanes practiced in shorts and helmets on in preparation for Saturday's contest with North Carolina at Kenan Stadium on ESPN2.
"Today was a really good day," coach Larry Coker said. "This week has been a good week of practice for us. What is encouraging is that I have seen improvement this week, which is nice to see this time of year because sometimes you can get a little stale. I don't think we are. I think we know we have work to do and that we need to get better.
Center Joel Rodriguez has practiced at full strength the past two days and will start . Redshirt freshman Derrick Morse has practiced at right guard all week and will make the first start of his career in place of injured junior Tyler McMeans .
"He (Morse) is doing good," Coker said. "He has a ways to go. He won't play his best football Saturday, but he is ready to play. The thing about Derrick I like is that he really plays hard."
Miami goes to Chapel Hill to face a team that will present the Hurricanes with a stout test defensively.
"I think we are going up against a good offensive football team," Coker said. "Their defense is a little misleading from the standpoint that they have given up some big numbers, but they have played some really good offensive teams."
North Carolina has also been much more successful in night games at home this season, with wins over Georgia Tech and then-No.25 North Carolina State.
"What I have seen is that their night games at home, they tend to win," Coker said. "They have beaten two very good teams in North Carolina State and Georgia Tech."
BERLIN NOT SURPRISED: Quarterback Brock Berlin isn't surprised to hear Steve Spurrier 's name mentioned among possible candidates to replace Zook as Florida's coach.
Berlin was Spurrier's top quarterback recruit in the coach's 12 seasons at Florida. But Berlin never supplanted Rex Grossman as the Gators' starter, and transferred to Miami in 2001.
"The people there at Florida love him and he's a great ball coach," Berlin said of Spurrier. "He did a lot of good things there. I'm sure there's that talk going on. I know he's anxious to probably get back coaching."
NO BCS WORRIES: Last week, Miami's coaches and players seemed unfazed by occupying the No.2 spot in the initial Bowl Championship Series rankings.
Falling to No.3 behind Oklahoma in this week's BCS left them similarly unbothered.
"I'm not surprised we dropped down a position," Coker said. "We're going to do all we can do. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. We just have to make sure we don't get too wrapped up in that."
BANK ROLLE: CB Antrel Rolle said he wouldn't change NCAA rules prohibiting the paying of college athletes.
Rolle, expected by many to be a high first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, called college "a time to enjoy and learn and prepare for the professional level if you are lucky."