Considering how bad the Hurricanes looked in the second half against Florida State last Saturday one might imagine players and coaches are dying for another shot at the Seminoles in the ACC Championship game.
UM coach Al Golden made it clear Wednesday during his 10-minute weekly meeting with the press in the ACC Teleconference the only thing on his mind and his players' minds is beating Virginia Tech on Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium.
When asked if he saw something that gives the Canes hope in a potential rematch with FSU, Golden said: ""Again, I'm not even -- we don't even live in that world."
"Our world right now is going against a defense that has 28 sacks and keeping opponents to 29 percent on third down and 4.1 yards a play and 16.9 points per game. Trust me, that's the world we live in. I don't want to own any quotes about a rematch or anything like that. You guys can speculate on that. In terms of our mentality, we're going to have our hands super full on Saturday with a Virginia Tech team that has obviously been the benchmark here in the Coastal Division and will give us everything we can handle. So that's where our minds are at right now."
What else was Golden talking about Wednesday?
> What he see from the Hokies' defensive front: "They're powerful. They're athletic, work in concert with each other. They pursue and they're aggressive. [Defensive tackles Luther] Maddy and [Derrick] Hopkins, those two collectively working together. [Ends James] Gayle, [J.R.] Collins, [Dadi] Nichoas and then the linebackers with [Jack] Tyler leading the way, having a great season. They're deep. They roll guys in. Very good unit."
> The Hokies won their first three ACC games and didn't turn the ball over once. But in their losses to Duke and Boston College the last two weeks they turned over four times each.
"It's the same issue we had," Golden said. "You have to do whatever you can to try and resolve it, emphasize it in practice, protecting the ball. Maybe it's helping the quarterback make different decisions, things of that nature or changing the way you practice. [The turnovers were] certainly like ours were -- self-inflicted, unforced errors in a way. We went through the same thing so it's really important we protect the ball this week."
> Golden said he doesn't really have a long-term prognosis for running back Duke Johnson following ankle surgery Monday night, but made it clear there's probably no way he will be back in time for a bowl game.
"I don't really have the long-term prognosis other than everything went really well and I'm going to see him today," Golden said. "He'll be back on campus either [Thursday] night or Friday morning. We're just trying to get him back, get him integrated back with academics, treatment and getting him in the weight room. Again, these days they get the guys going with treatment and rehab and things of that natue. He's doing well. He's at home. I'll get a chance to visit with him later."
> Will Dallas Crawford be the workhorse with Johnson out or will it be more of a committee approach?
"They're going to earn their reps in practice," Golden said. "We're going to evaluate those guys every day in practice and depending on what we're asking them to do we're going to see all three of those running backs and probably all three by the end of the first quarter. I don't think there's any question we'll see more of them. But certainly Dallas right now -- he was No. 2 and then No. 1 -- has demonstrated he can carry the load. Again, a lot of its going to depend on the play-calling, what groupings are in there, the flow of the game."
> Could Corn Elder be moved from cornerback to running back to add depth?
"We made that decision with [freshman] Walter Tucker a month ago that Walter would be the next running back if we need him," Golden said. "So Walter has the ability to play fullback or running back at 225 points. Obviously he's been playing a lot for us on special teams. That decision has already been made. Corn will stay at corner."
> How would Golden characterize Dallas as a running back?
"No. 1 he's got a low center of gravity and strength. He's probably 197, 198 pounds. So big legs, low center of gravity. He does utilize the spin move occasionally. He does have an excellent lateral cut and ability to start and stop. Some of those characteristics are the same as [Duke Johnson]. I would just say he's a little bit more powerful in terms of being able to drop his pads because of his leg strength. Those are the things he does really well. Like Randy, we can put him out, throw him a screen or line him up in the slot because he does catch the ball really well."
> Where does FSU rank among the four top unbeaten BCS teams?
"I know your guys' job is to debate all that and that's probably what creates the interest all year long. I think it's going to shake out. It's hard to imagine they're not the best team or one of the top two or three teams in the country. Those two wins were very impressive. Just seeing them up close. They're deep at every position. They have very few weaknesses. They execute it at a high level and they have a quarterback that's playing as good as anybody in the country. Because of that they certainly staking their claim or at least an argument to be that [top team]. I think it will all shake out in the end."