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Virginia Tech vs. Miami: Q&A with Canespace

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To help prepare us for the Miami game, 86Cane of the Hurricanes blog Canespace agreed to answer a few questions. He's a Miami fan, so naturally he has replaced the word 'you' with a capital 'U' throughout his answers and also double spaces after sentences, which is writing's equivalent of mouth-breathing. But, we'll forgive him and allow him to enlighten us on the 2009 edition of DA U!!!!!!

How do you think Robert Marve's transfer has helped Jacory Harris? He seems more confident in his role as the leader of the team this year?

It is true that Bobby Drama's (Marve) departure from Miami thrust Jacory into an entirely new position, but one that many Hurricane fans felt all along would have been his this year even if Marve had stayed in Coral Gables. Marve is doing hard time at Purdue while the Canes are cruising high at #9 in the country with two big ACC wins already in the bank.

There is no doubt now that this is Jacory's team. But his leadership role really started last year after the Emerald Bowl when he started in Marve's place due to his suspension. After the game as the team was loading on the buses to get away from another loss, Jacory personally talked to every player on the team and took responsibility for the loss. It was then that Randy Shannon knew he had a winner and something very special in Jacory Harris.

This year, after only two games, JaScory is among the leaders in several offensive statistical categories and is already being mentioned among the leading contenders for the Heisman trophy. There's your answer right there don't U think?

Who are some Canes that have stepped up for them this year? The two I've noticed are WR LaRon Byrd and DE OIivier Vernon.

U nailed that one! Those two have "blown up" big time in 2009.

The explosive (couldn't resist) Byrd is a fast, tall lanky WR who reminds many Hurricane fans (dare we say) of UM superhero Michael Irvin. They wear the same number (#47) and Byrd has the same knack for getting open and scoring that "The Playmaker" had at Miami.

DE Vernon is a true Freshman who has exploded (yeah, I know) on the scene as a pass rush specialist but has turned into a four down player. The kid is quick and smart and plays with a lot of leverage for a first year. He is best as an outside pass rusher but is also developing excellent technique against the run. He is a budding superstar that was really forced into action due to injuries along the D-line. There is a huge upside to this player with The U on his helmet.

Others are Freshman RB Mike James and TE Jimmy Graham. Graham Cracker has an interesting story in that he was a UM basketball player before Randy Shannon convinced him to play the game with the ball that has the pointy ends on it. Graham caught his first TD of the young season against GT last Thursday. He will catch at least one more against VT.

What are the differences on defense for the Hurricanes now that John Lovett has replaced Bill Young as defensive coordinator? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

They coach totally different schemes for one.

Young was a zone blitz guy and had the speedy Miami players thinking instead of attacking. Good coach, bad fit. That is not Miami football.

Lovett went to the Randy Shannon/Butch Davis school of defense: speed, aggression and attack, attack, attack!

The Canes just held GT's vaunted rushing game to under 100 yards after giving up an embarrassing 482 yards last year to the same team.

U gotta Lovett!

Did Cane fans really expect this team to be playing at this level this early? I figured it would take until the middle of the season for them to be as good as they are with two new coordinators.

There are some fans at Canespace that we call the 12%ers. They drink large quantities of Kool-Aid and always predict 12 wins and an undefeated season every year. They are led by their totally fearless leader RayChanCanesFan who if U asked him would tell U straight to your face that Miami has NEVER lost a game. Of course he and his posse like Calvin, ColdCane, Cat5, MDCane, CaneFantasy and others are drinking a lot more than a little Kool-Aid (especially Cat5)!

To answer your question MOST Hurricane fans are surprised that success has come so quickly. Some even question if we jumped too high in the polls too soon? But over the Summer Randy Shannon was aked when the Hurricanes would return to glory. He responded by saying: "I don't know when it will happen, but when it does, it will happen FAST."

Seems Shannon knows what he is talking about, huh? God I love that guy!

How do you expect Saturday's game to go down? Are we going to see big plays from both teams, a low-scoring slug fest or a blowout?

If Miami keeps Jacory upright, avoids turnovers and guards against any major special teams let downs, there is no way VT can win this game. Now, Miami has to do what any good road team does: score early and silence the crowd. U can't let those crazy mountain folk get all excited, get their buzz on and yell all night long.

But the boys from the 305 have already been fire tested when they went up to Tallahassee and managed to escape with a win by the slimmest of margins on Labor Day. They are a better team because of it.

It says here: Miami 27, VT 20.