Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hurricanes plan to keep it simple in opener

Miami running back Duke Johnson, who broke his right ankle in November, returns tonight against Louisville.

Getty Images (2013)

Miami running back Duke Johnson, who broke his right ankle in November, returns tonight against Louisville.

CORAL GABLES — Miami understands there are story lines aplenty linked to tonight's season opener.

It faces a Louisville team that dominated it 36-9 in December's Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. Freshman Brad Kaaya starts at quarterback. Star running back Duke Johnson plays his first game since breaking his right ankle.

On the other sideline, it's Louis­ville's first ACC game and coach Bobby Petrino's return to the school 7½ years after he left it for the NFL.

But Miami coach Al Golden wants to keep it simple.

"We have to take care of ourselves," he said. "Opening games are difficult. It's really important for us to execute, for us to eliminate the things that cause you to lose.

"The good news is … we have a lot of veterans coming back, and we need to use that poise and leadership in this game."

Golden's message seemingly got through. Players remained even keeled last week. But that doesn't mean they have forgotten what happened in December.

They remember how former Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns and ran for one. The Miami native and one-time Miami commit also flashed the school's "U" with his hands and made a throat-slash gesture at the Hurricanes bench. He later apologized, but it was all part of an experience that stayed with Miami players, especially those who didn't play.

"I just remember them trying to run the score up; really just disrespecting us," said cornerback Corn Elder, who sat with a knee injury. "I just feel like they were out there talking a lot of trash. They have a lot of players from (Miami), so it was a confidence thing; people you grew up with and played against."

Johnson, who broke the ankle Nov. 2 against Florida State, could do little more than watch as the Hurricanes struggled. Tonight is an opportunity to prove he's the same hard-charging, speedy back he always has been. Johnson gained 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason but has shown speed and cutting ability during fall camp.

"I feel great. I'm 100 percent," he said. "We've tackled, and it felt fine getting up; taking shots. I'm not really thinking about (the ankle) much."

Joining him in the backfield is Kaaya, the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Miami since Jacory Harris against Charleston Southern on Aug. 28, 2008. Kaaya, whom the team won't make available for comment until after the game, beat out Kansas transfer Jake Heaps after Ryan Williams, the presumed starter, tore his ACL during spring practice.

Most of the story lines, Golden wants his players to remember, are variables Miami can control.

Said Johnson: "We've just got to go out there and play football."

Tonight

Miami at Louisville, 8, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, ESPN, 1040-AM

Saturday's state games

USF: vs. Maryland, 3:30, CBS Sports Network

Florida: vs. Eastern Michigan, 4, SEC Network

Miami: vs. Florida A&M, 7

FSU: vs. Citadel, 7:30, Sun Sports

Hurricanes plan to keep it simple in opener 08/31/14 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, holds the AFC Championship trophy? as he celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to advance to the Super Bowl.? (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) FBO247
  2. Sputtering Rays keep falling one run short

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even going into play against the Angels on Tuesday just a game under .500 at 23-24, the Rays have some issues they have to resolve.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb waits for Mike Trout to finish his trot after homering to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener

    College

    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.