Beating Florida State the First of Many Miami Hurricanes Goals

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 7: Wide receiver Keith Gavin
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 7: Wide receiver Keith Gavin /

The Miami Hurricanes win over Florida State in Tallahassee was an important one for Mark Richt and his program. It was one victory in a season full of goals that the Hurricanes have.

The Miami Hurricanes win over Florida State broke a seven-year losing streak to the Seminoles. That was a second big goal reached during Mark Richt’s short tenure as Head Coach in Miami.

The Hurricanes have several others to reach. Definitely, within reach, this year is the ACC Coastal Division crown and their first appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

The only Division title for Miami came when they shared it with Virginia Tech and North Carolina in 2012. Miami lost the tiebreaker and they were also on probation. Bigger goals are winning the ACC, getting to a New Years Six Bowl game and eventually the College Football playoff.

The players have been humble this week in practice. That came after irritating Richt while dancing at the center of the field in Saturday’s post-game celebration. Several Miami Hurricanes players spoke this week about the remaining goals this season.

Senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios spoke to ESPN about the difference Richt has made in the culture of the team.

"“I think it was just getting everybody to buy in and get on the same page…We lost a good amount of players for whatever reason when he came in. A lot of them weren’t on that championship page or trying to be champions in what they did or their mentality. That was a major piece.We now have a team of, say, 100 instead of a team of 110 that everybody is bought in. They can be cancers to a team: They’re doing the wrong thing, they have the wrong attitude, they don’t want to be great. All these little things that matter. I think that’s the biggest thing: Everybody is on the same page, and everybody has the same mentality, same mindset.”"

Miami now sits at a crossroads similar to last season. The Hurricanes began the 2016 season 4-0. They were coming off of a victory over Georgia Tech before returning home to face Florida State. This season its reverse. They won at Florida State and return home to face the Yellow Jackets.

In addition to the victory over Florida State this season, they had their first bowl win in ten seasons last year. Berrios talked with ESPN about the growth of the program during his collegiate career.

"“It was about doing something that nobody on that team had done at Miami…It was flipping the page to say, ‘OK, you know what? We are different. We’re going to be different. We don’t have to be held to the constraints of the last two years and who we used to be. We turned that page, and this year we turned the Florida State page. And that’s what people will see more and more of going forward: This Miami team turning pages and getting back to where we need to be.”"

The win against Florida State was a program builder. The Hurricanes buried the ghosts of Miami Hurricanes past by coming up with a pair of clutch drives in the fourth quarter. Berrios spoke about the difference this year and past seasons against Florida State.

"“Everybody was tired of losing…I know I was, and my team was going to do everything we could to win that game.”"

Richt discussed why Miami was able to win against Florida State this season versus past years.

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"“I think last year we were still feeling our way around a little bit as a team, as a coaching staff,” Richt said. “This year, we have a lot of trust and faith in each other even when things aren’t going well. Of any day that things could have got sideways on the sideline, it was [Saturday], and it never did. We do really care about each other. We’re a strong team as far as unity. We kept saying, ‘We’re going to win this game some way, somehow’ … and it came true.”"

While the victory over Florida State was a major anvil off of Miami’s back, they now have to put the win behind them in order to reach bigger goals. The hangover effect of a Miami loss the week following the game against Florida State has hovered over the Hurricanes the last few seasons.

Berrios dicusseded the team’s focus this week.

"“We understand that was a huge win for us, for our team and for the program in general, but if we lose the next game, it doesn’t really matter…Now that we beat Florida State, we can’t have any kind of hangover, good or bad. It has to be on to the next week.”"

This week brings a new challenge. It’s likely the first of two games this season with first place on the line in the ACC Coastal Division. Georgia Tech and Miami enter the game 2-0 in the conference.

Next: What Can Miami Hurricanes Expect from Travis Homer

Three weeks from now will bring their second big challenge. Virginia Tech comes to Miami with the outcome of Coastal likely in the balance.