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"We don't want No. 9. No. 9 is nine spots away from being No. 1."

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Jacory also said that "people say you're going to hear all the turkey noises [in Lane Stadium], something I won't be used to."

The "because I'm not a backwards hick" is silent, but implied.

More pon di jump.

"[Virginia Tech's] going to be a very tough game. 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 just go out there relaxed and be cool."

Of the Heisman talk:

"It's not overwhelming. I have to take it one game at a time. My team helps me stay focused, and I help them stay focused. I've seen it. 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 have 12 more to go. I'm just trying to win all the games."

On being no. 9:

"I was happy, but we still have to stay focused, have to play Virginia Tech next and they're a great team. Our confidence is the same as it was before we played Florida State. We know what we're capable of, know we can score points. Just now we have statistics to prove it. We're very strong-minded, a humble team."

"Not too many people knew [about the ranking] – one person said it, and it was `Oh, well, we just have to get better. We don't want No. 9. No. 9 is nine spots away from being No. 1. We want to be where Florida is.' That's where we're trying to get."

Of the accolades for the team:

"I don't want it right now. I still want people to think we're the underdogs, that we'll go into the game losing by 30. I still want to show people what we're capable of.

"We want to go out there, improve on our mistakes, sharpen up things, take care of business."

On the offense: 

"We're clicking because of the defense. They get out there, show they can stop a team that last year put up over 400 yards rushing. That gave us motivation. That showed all we have to do is do what we do in practice, execute our offense and we'll score touchdowns.

"We're working together well. We come out to practice every day hungry, ready to work. We come out at 5:45 in the morning running full speed."

Asked if this team learned last year against Georgia Tech that all the hype doesn't mean much:

"Yeah, because once you lose you start dropping in the rankings anyway. Last year (against Georgia Tech) we went in too happy. 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 we deserve."

Harris also said the team still keeps the prognosticators that picked UM to go 0-4 to start the season in mind.

"When we see people on TV (saying how good UM is now) we call them bandwagoners," Harris said. "If you want to be with us, be with us from the beginning, not now that we're beginning to take off. "

* Harris says he doesn't even look at the defensive rush anymore, that he isn't worried about defenders getting to him.

He says OL Orlando Franklin even comes up to him in the bus on the way to games telling him he won't be touched.

"In the summer people were doubting the offensive line, saying that was the weak point of the team," Harris said. "But I knew that wasn't the case. We have a great front seven. I look on film and nobody is around me."

Shannon:

"Virginia Tech and Miami have a history of playing each other all the way back to Big East days - it's going to be a big game. You know what Virginia Tech is going to do on defense, offense, special teams. It's going to be a real challenge for us as a football team coming off a big victory against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Being ranked ninth is nice, but guys have to understand that's just a ranking. Virginia Tech is the total focus for this week's game. Its nice to see Jacory (Harris) is getting accolades about Heisman thoughts, but sitting down with Jacory his whole focus is on this football team and Virginia Tech.

"This football team has learned a lot from last year's losses that we had playing against certain teams, situations. Now they can realize the importance of concentrating on the game at hand, not looking ahead. It's the third game, third conference game, which is unusual. We have to compete, stay within ourselves, play with a lot of enthusiasm.

"It should be a great atmosphere and a great game to watch."

With a win, Miami would move to 3-0 in the conference and be in good shape to win its division at this early point.

"It gets you 3-0 in the conference against three tough opponents," Shannon said. "If you're 3-0 now you can stay focused on one game at a time still and aren't looking for anyone else to give you help."

Q: What is particularly daunting about Lane Stadium?

Shannon: The way it's built, the noise stays within the game it's a Florida State type game. It's great to be part of that game because of the noise factor. That's what's great about playing Virginia Tech, you're going to have that type of atmosphere.

Q: What impact have the wins had on out of state kids?

Shannon: When February comes, that's when stuff happens. You have commitments, decommitments from this time until November, December. Some kids come early – kids change their minds so much you really can't get involved.

Q: You guys are the ninth ranked team in the nation.

Shannon: I think it's flattering, but we still have a long ways to go as a football team to get better.

Q: What is it about the offensive line that has allowed them to gel?

Shannon: Coach (Jeff) Stoutland. He's one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. You look at a first year guy like (Matt) Pipho, (AJ) Trump (moving) to center. You bring (Harland) Gunn, Figs [Joel Figueroa], Orlando (Franklin) along. Some of those guys are now in their third year – when you have Harland here three years, it's time. Fig, it's time. Orlando, it's time. Pipho, (Jason) Fox and Trump are seniors. Those guys understand.

Q: How important is it to not drink the Kool-Aid of how good everyone is saying this team is?

Shannon: 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.

Q: How did Vaughn Telemaque do in his first start at safety?

Shannon: He did a great job tackling, great job of covering. He still has along ways to improve. We're looking for a lot of things out of him. As a coach you want more, and he wants more knowing the competitor that he is.

Q: Did you make changes in the kick game?

Shannon: No. (Alex) Uribe will be the kickoff guy. He did a nice job with two kicks in the second half. We had guys in position in the second half to make plays. The first half the (nerves) got to him. We feel confident he'll do a nice job. He just had jitters in the first half; the second half he was fine.

Q: What have you been selling in recruiting the last couple of years?

Shannon: First thing we try to do is find guys who have that passion to play football, that winning attitude. Then we tell the kid what Miami is about, what they can expect from us as football coaches. We always tell them they'll have an opportunity to play. The last two or three years we've done a great job getting guys to come in January, and that has helped the success of this football team. Those guys in recruiting, we're not just saying things to get you to come to Miami. We tell you if you come in and happen to be the guy, we're a better football team. If not we're still going to be a better team because we want you to compete.

Q: How surprised are you with how level headed Jacory is?

Shannon: I'm not. I've seen Jacory many years. His demeanor hasn't changed. He's always been the same type of guy – calm, cool, don't panic on the football field.

Q: How has Brandon Harris played?

Shannon: He's done a great job. Physically he's coming up in the run game, getting sure tackles on the ground. We've put him in one on one situations and he's done a great job. We feel very confident in him. He's playing with a lot of emotion, excitement. I think overall this team is playing with emotion, excitement. If you see Brandon make a play you may see three or four guys around him. You see a running touchdown, you see the offensive linemen jumping up and down.

Q: Is there a fine line between guys getting back the swagger the program used to have vs. getting overconfident?

Shannon: I don't think they'll get overconfident. It's more playing with emotion, excitement. That's the thing they're doing. We're a confident football team, we believe in each other, in the coaching staff and what we're trying to get done on offense, defense and special teams.

Q: Talk about Tyrod Taylor and the problems he gives defenses.

Shannon: He's a different player than last year. He's going to run, but he's (also) got a strong arm. The secondary, if he starts to scramble don't drop your guy. Stay on your guy and let the linebackers handle it if he starts running. He moves around in the pocket, will throw it downfield and big plays happen.

Q: What does this game come down to?

Shannon: This game on all phases is almost like, Virginia Tech knows what we're going to run, we know what they're going to run. It comes down to the execution of who is not going to give up the play to change the momentum of the game. It's going to come down to execution and doing certain type of things.

Q: Talk about the play of the defensive line.

Shannon: This game this week is going to be a physical game on both sides of the football. The last five years, which team leads in rushing always wins besides one time because of turnovers. Whichever offense can run and whichever defensive front can stop the run, that's (who) wins the game.

Q: You got a lift from Eric Moncur coming back. Is he back to where he was?

Shannon: He's never where he's at coming back, but he made a lot of great plays in that game. We expect more of him this week. He made some plays in the game, so he's not too far off. We just want him to keep going.

Byrd:

"They're a great football team," Byrd said. "Virginia Tech is always going to be Virginia Tech. Every time Virginia Tech and Miami play, no matter what the records are, it's always a battle. It always comes down to that last play. Whoever capitalizes the most on offense and defense is going to win that game.

"They're a very fast defense and they execute well."

Byrd says a key in the game will be to jump out to a quick lead.

"If a team jumps out on you, that builds their confidence," Byrd said. "We have to keep attacking."

Of what makes Mark Whipple's offense work so well, Byrd said, "It's about opportunities. He gives everyone opportunities, doesn't just focus on one game. Last game nine receivers caught a pass, so the opposing defense can't just capitalize on one person."

With Miami ranked No. 9 in the nation, Byrd says the key for this team is "Don't let it get to our head. Still play like we're unranked.

"As far as the rankings, if we're not No. 1 it doesn't matter. But at the same time we just have to keep staying hungry, working our butts off. The more we win, the more we'll be ranked higher. We just have to do our business."

Byrd is one of the reasons Miami has the nation's eighth-ranked passing offense.

He has 83 yards and a touchdown.

"We're just executing our assignments, but we still have to do better," Byrd said. "You play to be No. 1. It's good to be ranked No. 8 coming from last year, but at the same time you have to keep executing and progressing."

Asked what the offense is doing right, Byrd said, "We're just doing our assignments, are playing assignment football. We're still making a couple of mistakes. There's going to be mistakes in a football game.

"We know the offense better, and we're more hungry than last year."

Byrd praised the play of Jacory Harris, who is gaining some mention for the Heisman Trophy.


"He's the leader of our offense - he puts the ball in the best position for us to catch it, and our job as receivers is to catch the ball," Byrd said. "Jacory is Jacory. He is calm back there in the pocket.

"We definitely have to congratulate our O-line. The O-line gives him great time back there, and he's just making accurate throws."