MIAMI — The Hurricanes open their season by hosting Florida Atlantic tonight with a tribute to the team that began Miami's run to five national titles by upsetting Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
Miami will honor its 1983 national championship team, the one coached by Howard Schnellenberger, who started the FAU program 15 years later.
Schnellenberger, 79, will be the honorary captain for both teams. Dozens of his former Miami players are expected to attend.
"I wouldn't say I'm excited," Schnellenberger said. "Thrilled would be more appropriate."
Even though he follows Miami and is considered the architect of the program, Schnellenberger is rooting for FAU. "This is my team," Schnellenberger said.
"We're blessed to have him in our family,'' Miami coach Al Golden said. "I know FAU probably feels the same way.''
It's the first time the schools have met in football, starting a three-game, four-year series.
UF: New kicker thinking big
GAINESVILLE — Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin, who beat out senior Brad Phillips for the kicking job, brings a lot confidence as he tries to fill a big hole for Florida.
"I went into camp believing I was going to win that role and preparing to be the starter," he said.
With record-setting kicker Caleb Sturgis now a Dolphin, Hardin is eager to show what he can do.
"He had a great career here, but it's my turn now," Hardin said.
Hardin said he learned a lot as a freshman watching Sturgis prepare.
"In high school, it came naturally to me. I didn't realize there was such a mental aspect to it," he said. "Really for me it was about getting a routine and learning different mental aspects of kicking."
Hardin, who is from Atlanta, once kicked a 59-yard winning field goal and believes he can rival the range of Sturgis, who set the standard at UF with eight field goals of 50 yards or longer.
With 4.5-second speed in the 40 and experience as a running back, Hardin also could offer something else.
"I would love to run a fake," he said.
FSU: Running back ineligible
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State redshirt freshman RB Mario Pender was ruled academically ineligible for the season. Pender can practice with the team and will attend classes but cannot play in games or travel with the team.
"It's unfortunate. He was having a great camp,'' coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Praise for green: Freshman Ryan Green of St. Petersburg Catholic earned praise from Fisher and appears ready to be the third running back on the depth chart. He has also been working as a kick returner. Fisher's take on Green: "Making plays. Learning the offense. Can catch the ball. Doing things. Picking up blitzes and blocks. Very proud of the way he is progressing."