Improving Canes Eager To Erase Painful Memory
CORAL GABLES - Miami coach Randy Shannon insists he wouldn't use this week's team meetings to remind his team of the lopsided beating last year's Hurricanes endured against Virginia. It was the Hurricanes' final game at the Orange Bowl, the end of their seven-decade run in the fabled building. It was Virginia 48, Miami 0. Turn out the lights, the party was very much over. A building that saw Miami win an NCAA-record 58 consecutive home games, where UM celebrated national titles and once held one of the greatest homefield advantages in football got a stunning send-off. "It was rough," tight end Dedrick Epps said."Embarrassing," offered offensive lineman Jason Fox. Miami (5-3, 2-2) visits Virginia (5-3, 3-1) today in Charlottesville in a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia has won four straight, Miami three in a row, and those streaks have kept both firmly in the chase for a Bowl Championship Series berth. But since it's a game that could decide first place in the ACC's Coastal Division, Shannon says he has bigger things on his mind than playing the revenge card. So there were no "48-0" signs plastered all over the meeting rooms or photos of the scoreboard taped in everyone's locker. The way Shannon sees it, there's no need."It's a different year, different team," Shannon said. True, of the 22 starters Miami sent onto that Orange Bowl turf last Nov. 10, only seven have been regular contributors for the Hurricanes this season, and only four have been full-time starters. Virginia's lineup has changed a bit as well, meaning even the Cavaliers have a different identity this year than they did that night. Still, if you think the phrase "48-0" hasn't been bandied about considerably by Miami players this week, think again. "Maybe that doesn't get brought up through Coach Shannon, but the guys on the team remind each other of that," said Fox, who started at left tackle in that game. "We know this is a big game for us, because it's our next game and every game's important, but it was almost to a point where it was embarrassing and disrespectful last year. That's in the back of our minds."