Miami, UW much alike, coaches say

2009-12-28T14:30:00Z Miami, UW much alike, coaches sayJim Polzin | jpolzin@madison.com | 608-252-6473 madison.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Randy Shannon believes the two teams which will meet Tuesday night in the Champs Sports Bowl are nearly mirror images of each other.

"When I look at Wisconsin, I look at the University of Miami," the Hurricanes coach said Monday. "Both teams like to run the football, both teams like to use the play-action pass. You look at the defense, both of us run a 4-3 scheme. We played some form of coverages the same way. It's teams that are similar in every aspect."

Badgers coach Bret Bielema agrees with Shannon's assessment.

"You pop on the film and watch, it's been great from a preparation standpoint, because our offense and their offense -- in the run game in particular -- have a lot of similarities," Bielema said.

Among the other similarities:

The Badgers and the Hurricanes are both 9-3. Both were 5-3 in their respective conferences. Both were 7-6 last season. Both have head coaches with backgrounds on defense.

So what will separate UW and Miami when it's time to meet on the field?

"It's going to come to the execution of it," Shannon said. "And I think turnovers are big in this game."

The race to 10

Both Bielema and Shannon stressed the importance of a 10-win season, a mark the winner of Tuesday's game will reach.

UW has had just five seasons with 10 or more victories in school history. The last came in 2006, Bielema's first season, when the Badgers won a school-record 12 games.

Bielema said "10-win seasons are special. ... I think it's special because not many people get it done. There's only been a handful of them at the University of Wisconsin."

A victory and a 10-win season, according to Bielema, would be a "great catapult into 2010" for the Badgers, who are ranked No. 24 in the nation.

Ditto for the Hurricanes, who are ranked No. 14. A 10-win season, combined with the fact Miami is a relatively young team that will return several key players, could result in a high starting spot in the rankings for the Hurricanes in 2010.

"The end of the season is the key," Shannon said. "If you go into the end of the season, and you win the last game of the season, you go into spring football with some excitement and a lot of enthusiasm. Especially when you get 10 wins -- 10 wins can put you in the top 10 or 12 at the end of the season, and if you're returning a lot of guys for the following season, it probably puts you in the top six or top seven in the country."

Positive feedback

An ESPN documentary earlier this week on the Hurricanes didn't paint the program in the best light, but Shannon said a lot of good has come out of it.

Shannon, a former Miami athlete, played on teams that led to the image of an outlaw program with players who were as cocky as they were talented. Shannon, a disciplinarian, is trying to change that.

"To be honest with you, the (documentary) helped," he said. "We had a lot of parents call in, we had a lot of players that we (weren't) recruiting, trying to be a part of the University of Miami. But we have to make sure we recruit the right kind of players to fit what we do, that has a lot of passion for playing football and has a team mentality, not an individual mentality."

 

 

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