Canes focus on beating the Hokies

Bring on the hype.

This Saturday at 3:30 p.m., the No.9 Miami Hurricanes (2-0, 2-0 ACC) will have the opportunity to prove to the nation that the U is truly back as they travel to Blacksburg, Va. to face No.11 Virginia Tech (2-1, 0-0 ACC) at Lane Stadium.

“Virginia Tech and Miami have a history of playing each other all the way back to the Big East days,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “It’s going to be a big game. You know what Virginia Tech is going to do on defense, offense, and special teams. It’s going to be a real challenge for us as a football team coming off a big victory.”

Last Thursday, Miami thrashed then-ranked No.14 Georgia Tech 33-17 in a national primetime game in their first home game of the season. The Hokies are coming off an impressive 16-15 victory against No.19 Nebraska as quarterback Tyrod Taylor engineered a fourth quarter comeback.

Miami leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 17-9 and this will mark the 18th straight season the Hurricanes and the Hokies square off.

“It’s going to be a very tough game,” said quarterback Jacory Harris, who leads the No.1 offense in the ACC and has the third best passing efficiency in the nation. “Hearing about Lane Stadium, people say you’re going to hear all the turkey noises, something I won’t be used to. It’s going to be loud. Who doesn’t want to play in front of a hostile crowd? I’ll go out there relaxed and be cool.”

One aspect that Shannon has not been ecstatic about this season has been his kickoffs and kickoff coverage. Miami is second to last in the ACC in kickoff coverage having only a net average of 36 yards on kicks and Miami’s opponents are starting at the 34-yard line on an average.

Last week, walk-on kicker Alex Uribe had two kickoffs out of bounds.

Virginia Tech leads the ACC with 30.8 yards on kickoff returns and has already scored one touchdown.

Also, the Hokies are ranked No.18 in the nation in punt return with an average of 17.5 yards per return, and Virginia Tech leads the ACC in punting, averaging 46.3 yards per kick.

Last week, kicker Matt Bosher missed two fields in the red zone already tying the amount of field goals he missed all of last season.

Va. Tech head coach Frank Beamer has run the helm for the Hokies the past 23 years. He has been known for his dynamic special teams play. His style is renowned and known as “Beamer Ball.”

Meanwhile safety Randy Phillips is befuddled by the term Beamer Ball.

[Virginia Tech] is good on special teams,” the senior captain said. “I’ll say that, if that’s what they call Beamer Ball. Every year that we play them we always beat them in specials so I guess it’s Coach Shannon Ball.”

The Hokies will face a daunting challenge to the Canes as they are two time reigning ACC Champions.

“They’re a great football team,” said wide receiver LaRon Byrd who had five receptions for 83 yards and touchdown last week. “Virginia Tech is always going to be Virginia Tech. Every time Virginia Tech and Miami play, no matter what the records are, it’s a battle. Whoever capitalizes the most is going to win the game.”

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at