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Big offense vs. big defense
By IZZY GOULD
Published September 15, 2006
[Times photo: Brian Cassella]
Florida backup quarterback Tim Tebow, scrambling against UCF, has been practicing well and could play against Tennessee.
Miami coach Larry Coker spent the past week wondering how the No. 17 Hurricanes could dig a moat around their end zone to help guard against Louisville's seemingly score-at-will offense.
The 12th-ranked Cardinals are far and away tops in Division I-A when it comes to scoring offense, averaging 60.5 points.
No, Rick Pitino isn't the offensive coordinator.
Louisville has gotten the bulk of its scoring on the ground from six running backs, including George Stripling (four touchdowns), Michael Bush (three touchdowns) and Sergio Spencer (two touchdowns).
Bush is out for the remainder of the season with a broken leg. Stripling and Spencer have picked up the load, helping Louisville rush for 337.5 yards a game.
"I know they had an outstanding player that got injured," Coker said. "They're very deep at running back. Those players have filled in admirably. I think it's going to be a big test for our defensive team."
Louisville can throw, too. Quarterback Brian Brohm has a pair of touchdowns and averages 280.5 passing yards. He directed a 59-28 win against rival Kentucky then stripped Temple of its feathers on the road in a 62-0 romp.
"Louisville's different than most teams we play," Coker said. "They may be the best team we play offensively. They're very diversified. A little bit of misconception you have about Louisville is that all they do is pass the football. But they run the ball extremely well."
Of course, Kentucky and Temple aren't Miami.
The Hurricanes are tied at No. 21 for scoring defense, allowing 11.5 points per game, including a 13-10 loss to Florida State and a 51-10 confidence booster against Florida A&M.
They are ninth nationally in rushing defense and held the Seminoles to 1 yard on the ground.
PASS THE WD-40: The Orange Bowl crowd surely cheered Miami running back Tyrone Moss as he stood in the backfield for the first time since a season-ending knee injury last fall.
The bruising 5-foot-9, 232-pound back missed Week 1 thanks to a one-game suspension, which arguably hurt the 'Canes rushing attack that managed 2 yards against the Seminoles. Moss carried eight times Saturday for 64 yards and a touchdown.
"I think he's really going to progress and be really a force for us as the season progresses," Coker said. "Honestly, I felt like Tyrone was a little rusty last week, which is understandable coming off knee surgery. Again, he'll get some work and we'll get Tyrone ready."
STILL HURTING: Miami left tackle Reggie Youngblood, who missed last week's game with an ankle sprain, is out again this week and won't accompany the team to Louisville. Freshman Jason Fox could start at left tackle; sophomore Chris Rutledge got the start against FAMU.
BACK IN THE SADDLE: Florida A&M quarterback Albert Chester returned to practice this week and could be ready for Saturday's game against Howard, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Chester was 18 of 34 passing in the Rattlers' 34-14 loss to Delaware State when he broke a finger on his left (nonthrowing) hand.
Walk-on Leon Camel replaced him against the Hurricanes and went 11-for-20 for 143 yards and a touchdown.
TRYING TO REGROUP: Florida Atlantic has been outscored 99-6 in its two losses and has not scored a touchdown. The lack of production has caused tension between the offensive and defensive units.
To deflate some egos, a players' only meeting was held Tuesday to help resolve some differences. The Owls continue a rough five-game road trip this week at Oklahoma State.
"We need to stop bickering between each team because, out at practice, there's a lot of that," quarterback Sean Clayton told the Palm Beach Post. "We just need to stop it. We need to congratulate them when they do something good and they need to congratulate us when we do something good."