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Coker: Forget revenge, focus on present

By MICHAEL SNYDER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 10, 2001


CORAL GABLES -- Bring on the Huskies.

To no one's surprise No. 1 Miami set up a monster matchup with No. 13 Washington Saturday in the Orange Bowl by dispatching Big East doormat Rutgers 61-0.

"It was a good win for us," coach Larry Coker said. "We certainly didn't overlook Rutgers."

The Hurricanes could have looked over, under, around and through the Scarlet Knights and it would have made little difference. Miami has won all nine meetings, and none has been close.

"We didn't lie to our players; we told them we're a better football team than Rutgers," Coker said. "We're going to win the football game unless we just give it away."

Now comes a date with Washington, which denied Miami a bid for an undefeated season and a national championship in 2000 with its 34-29 victory.

"The revenge factor, I'm not really into that," Coker said. "If that motivates our guys, that's fine. Whatever happens, it's not going to change the score of last year. Oklahoma's not going to bring the trophy back and play us. That's history, that's in the past."

After outscoring its first two opponents 94-7, UM is looking forward to the challenge. "I want this one a lot," quarterback Ken Dorsey said. "I know a lot of them think we're going to come and choke. ... Everybody on the West Coast doesn't believe we can play in big games."

INJURY UPDATE: Right tackle Joaquin Gonzalez sprained his right shoulder early in the game and was replaced by sophomore Vernon Carey. Coker said Gonzalez would be examined by team doctor John Uribe, but thought he'd be back for Washington. With Gonzalez and Bryant McKinnie, the 'Canes have one of the best tackle tandems in the NCAA. Gonzalez, who garnered preseason All-America honors, has started every game at right tackle since 1998, his freshman season. ... Backup tailback Willis McGahee has the same injury as Gonzalez, but there was no word on his status. ... Receiver Daryl Jones (sprained right knee) could return this week.

ODDS AND ENDS: Penalties remain a concern as UM had 10 for 127 yards after 14 for 120 yards against Penn State. "We're not a dumb football team, but we're committing some very unintelligent penalties, some retaliatory penalties where you don't see the first guy, just the second," Coker said. ... Freshman Frank Gore, who starred at Coral Gables High School, led UM with 78 yards on six carries and scored the first touchdown of his career. "I think he's going to be special," said Coker, who compared the Hurricanes' talent glut at tailback to his days as an assistant at Oklahoma State when Thurman Thomas' backup was Barry Sanders. ... A last word from Coker on facing Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, the former UM defensive coordinator: "I don't care if Madonna's the coach, the game is played on the field."

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