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Will the hype hurt the Canes?

The question on everyone's minds entering this week isn't how the Hurricanes will handle the Hokies. It's how they'll handle the hype of being a big deal again in college football. Of the 200 questions you left me on our weekly chat, 150 pertained to the mental focus of this team.

Jacory Harris

Are they overconfident now that they're in the Top 10? Is Jacory going to be affected by the Heisman talk? Are they taking the Hokies lightly?

We won't know for sure until Saturday when the Canes line up against the ACC preseason favorite in their house. But from everything we heard from coach Randy Shannon and his players Tuesday, this Miami Hurricanes team isn't drinking the Kool Aid yet.

In fact, when the Canes got word they had moved up to No. 9 in the latest Associated Press poll Sunday, Harris said he and his teammates shrugged it off.

"Not too many people knew – one person said it, and it was like `Oh, well, we just have to get better," Harris said. "We don't want No. 9. No. 9 is nine spots away from being No. 1. We want to be No. 1 in the nation. We want to be where Florida is. Where all the great teams are. That's where we're trying to get."

Shannon said his team learned enough harsh lessons from its losses last year to avoid future pitfalls or taking teams lightly.

"This football team has learned a lot from last year's losses that we had playing against certain teams, situations," Shannon said. "Now they can realize the importance of concentrating on the game at hand, not looking ahead.

"When you look at the football team now, have we got a lot better maturity-wise than last year? Yes. As a whole the biggest thing that has helped out is the seniors on this football team. They've done a great job making sure we stay focused on the big picture, not the small picture. The preparation this morning was good, we got a lot of things done. Now we have to take the next step tomorrow. If we stay focused the game is no problem because they're ready to go. If you see guys not doing the small things in practice then you have a problem."

Harris said he's seen his new Heisman website and heard about all the things some famous people have been saying about him. But he promises it won't affect him.

"It's still not overwhelming," Harris said. "I have to pay attention to what's ahead. I have to take it one game at a time. As long as I do that, my team will help me stay focused, and I'll help them stay focused.

"I've heard (the Heisman hype). But I try not to pay any attention to it. I really don't think I've done anything yet because we've only played two games and we still have 12 more game to go. I'm just trying to win all the games."

Harris said he and his teammates know all the attention can disappear quickly.

"Once you lose you start dropping in the rankings anyway," Harris said. "Last year we went up to play Georgia Tech. I know were happy, probably too happy. That's what we learned. It's not about what's written on paper, stats. It's what's done on the field. As long as we keep performing on the field we'll get the rewards and things we deserve."

A couple quick notes...

> INJURY UPDATES: Expect to see cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke back in the lineup this week... Receiver Aldarius Johnson and running back Lee Chambers could be back too. Both were back out at practice Tuesday... We still have not received any word or defensive tackle Marcus Forston's status. He left in the third quarter with a foot injury against Georgia... Tight end Jimmy Graham had his left hand bandaged up. Ditto for backup linebacker Arthur Brown.

> I'll have plenty more for you in the coming days including audio from today's media session. We spoke with Leonard Hankerson, Jacory Harris, Randy Shannon, Matt Pipho, Orlando Franklin and Randy Phillips. I had a one-on-one with receivers coach Aubrey Hill.