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Mario Cristobal: “Aggressive, I saw a team that played fast. I saw a team that played to their training…”




Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida – Friday, September 1st, 2023

The Miami Hurricanes opened their season with an impressive 38-3 victory over the Miami of Ohio RedHawks at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Following the game, head coach Mario Cristobal shared his insights during the postgame press conference. Here are some notable quotes from his discussion:

Coach Mario Cristobal’s Opening Statement: “Good evening. I appreciate you guys sticking around and I certainly appreciate our fans waiting through the initial lightning delay, because they made it fun. They made it fun out there. We played a lot of guys tonight and played a pretty solid brand of football. I was certainly proud of the way our defensive guys came out and put a lot of pressure on their offense. They got us some really good field position, and while we didn’t capitalize all the time, we put a couple good drives together. We started a little something in the red zone, and then they got back and got themselves a field goal. That one field goal before halftime brought a lot of momentum. That was a really good job by the offense putting that together. And then the second half, we just started to methodically take over the football game. I’m proud of the offensive and defensive lines. I felt they controlled the line of scrimmage for a majority of the game. They make it difficult with their angles, with their leverage, with their numbers in the run game. They sure bring a lot of pressure, and our guys did a decent job; the defensive line put a ton of pressure on their guys.”

On a new blocking scheme: “We showed it last year but it’s just different body types executing them, so it didn’t look as clean [last season]. We are a little bit bigger up front. It’s a little bit of everybody. Shannon Dawson has done a lot of offense in his life. Certainly, we have some things that we’ve done before, as well, so it’s really a good blend. All in all, it looks a little bit different, but there’s some similarities.”

On overall takeaways from the first game: “I figured they were going to be tough to run the ball against. If you watched them play Kentucky, they held Kentucky to 15 yards rushing and made it difficult to score and they have a big offensive line over there. We felt that it would be a physical battle and we’d have to just keep wearing them down and the defense was going to have to make some stops. The penalty to prevent from scoring down in the red zone was a monster penalty. It certainly gave them some life and put a few points on the board for them and gave them hope. After that, we started taking control of the game, finally. We had some opportunities early and we didn’t capitalize. It was good to see our team respond and start making enough plays, moving the sticks enough, making enough stops to start to take control of the game.”

On the performance of the running back group: “It’s kind of what Tim Harris, Jr. has been talking about all week. They’ve all been competing and competing hard. It was hard to tell who was separating, but you probably saw some of that tonight. Everybody looks good. Look at Don [Chaney, Jr.]’s run at the end and then Ajay [Allen] comes out and breaks that run out to the side and, wait a second, Mark Fletcher, Jr.’s run went over some people for a touchdown. It’s the way it should be. When Miami’s been really good, you remember those running back rooms, right? What they were like with Edgerrin James, Najeh Davenport, James Jackson, and then you have Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore. I’m not saying we are there yet, but I’m saying that that type of competition, we benefit a lot from it and we intend to keep that competition going.”

On the performance of Tyler Van Dyke: “You know, I thought he performed really well. He’d love to have the interception back. He’s really hard on himself. He was really efficient. He put us in the right plays, made the right decisions in the run game, as well. He carries a lot when he runs this offense. There’s a lot of autonomy that goes with it and I thought he did a great, great job.”

On the play of the defense: “Aggressive. I saw a team that played fast. I saw a team that played to their training, since January; A commitment to increasing our level of physicality and speed. They’re playing with a bit more power. And then, Coach Guidry, and how highly we think of him, he put it together. If you watch film with him, he’s not going to be completely happy. He’s going to find a lot of stuff to fix. But he is going to be happy with the effort. He is going to be enthused and encouraged by the progress of this defense and some of the things we can get better at. All in all, a solid performance but there is a lot of room for improvement and we recognized that as we walked off the field.”



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