Mark Richt Expects Better Conditioned Miami Hurricanes vs. Duke

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Malik Rosier
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Malik Rosier /
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After struggling with conditioning in Saturday’s victory over Toledo, Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Mark Richt expects his team to be in better shape on Friday at Duke.

There were several reasons Richt gave for his expectation that the Miami Hurricanes will be better conditioned this week. Miami seemed to be better conditioned in Saturday’s second half than they did in the first.

Richt spoke out that he felt that the weather played a huge factor in his team’s resurgence after halftime. The Hurricanes came out and ceased a 10-0 lead on the first two drives. Toledo scored on four straight drives in the second quarter to take a 16-10 lead at halftime.

Both Richt and Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz felt that the weather played a difference in the game. As it got later in the game and it cooled off, Miami heated up. Richt also attributed the Hurricanes second-quarter struggles to not being able to substitute how they wanted to.

In Saturday’s postgame, Richt discussed the substitution pattern.

"“We were going to try and make sure we substituted the best we could, but the thing got out of hand in the first half. We couldn’t really get a stop on defense."

The Hurricanes inability to practice and work on conditioning during a nine-day layoff spanning Hurricane Irma gave the early edge to Toledo. Richt discussed his team’s second-half performance when the weather cooled off.

"“The second half, I think really when the weather cooled down, it probably helped us more than it helped them. I think they’re in better football condition than we were, and the weather I think helped us, but I also think making a couple of plays helped us too.”"

Related Story: What Were Mark Richt's Toledo Post Game Thoughts?

The Hurricanes Friday night game at Duke is scheduled for a 7 PM ET kickoff. The combination of that and the game being in Durham as opposed to Miami will help the Hurricanes according to Richt.

Richt discussed the difference between the Toledo game and what’s upcoming on Friday at Duke.

"“Do I think we’re in as good a shape as we would have been in if we didn’t have the layoff? Probably not,” Richt said Sunday. “But, the good news is we have more time to continue to get in condition. And … this game is going to be an evening game, in a climate that’s not the heat and humidity that we’re used to playing in. I think that ought to help us.”"

Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz agreed with Richt about the second quarter issues. He said:

"“We were having a hard time in the second quarter putting 11 functioning defensive football players on the field because of getting back to the conditioning level of being able to play in a game.”"

Miami’s inability to get off the field on third down has also contributed to their fatigue against Toledo. The Rockets were 13-23 on third down. That included Miami stopping the Rockets on their last five attempts on third down.

The Hurricanes are going to have to get off the field on third down to be successful on the road. Miami currently ranks 127th out of 129 teams in the nation on third down conversions defensively.

Next: Miami Hurricanes Athletic Personnel Discuss Pre-Irma Decisions

Bethune-Cookman and Toledo converted at a combined 52.5 percent. That has to improve.