Saturday, September 26, 2009
Miami still confident despite loss
By Heather Dinich ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
Miami failed to protect quarterback Jacory Harris and could not get anything going on offense.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Miami lost 31-7 to the Hokies in what was the Canes’ worst performance in three games this season, and offensive tackle Jason Fox still doesn’t believe Virginia Tech is the better team.
In fact, he said the Hokies made plays early in the game that got their confidence up and “let them feel like they could play with us.”
“In all reality I don’t think they’re a better team than us,” Fox said. “I think they played better than us.”
And the scoreboard reflected it. So will the Coastal Division standings.
Miami had the hype and the No. 9 ranking in the country, but Virginia Tech had the more complete effort, leaving the Canes looking up at the Hokies in the ACC’s pecking order and with much room for improvement heading into next weekend’s game against Oklahoma.
With or without Sam Bradford, the Sooners are still the runners-up for the national title, and that's a postseason destination that -- at least for the time being -- popped out of the picture for Miami as quickly as it appeared.
Miami couldn’t stop the run, it couldn’t run the ball, and it couldn’t protect quarterback Jacory Harris for the first time this season. That doesn’t mean, though, that the Hurricanes doubt their abilities. Miami tight end Jimmy Graham said the Hurricanes are “10 times better” than how they played on Saturday, and that they never even practiced that poorly before.
“We’re going to go watch film, get graded on this, then turn right back around and we’ve got another great opportunity against another ranked team at home,” Graham said. “I just see it all as opportunities for us. We’ve been given three great opportunities in a row and next week is just another opportunity we can really do something and get back to winning and the way the U is supposed to be.”
After a 2-0 start, many outside the program thought Miami was exactly where it needed to be to regain national respect -- ranked in the top 10. But there was more talk this week than there were plays from Miami.
“We’re not worried about hype,” Fox said. “It’s the fourth week of the season and this is our third game. Hype doesn’t matter. We still have to win games before any of that matters. Rankings mean stuff at the end of the season, and we just weren’t executing on offense, couldn’t stop them on defense and they had better special teams play than us. They beat us in all three phases of the game.”
And that makes Virginia Tech the better team -- at least it did on Saturday.