Santana Moss is fast, and he can jump high and far, but the
Hurricanes' senior receiver would like to set the record
straight: He is not a track guy. He runs the 40 in 4.3 seconds,
and he won the triple jump and long jump at this spring's Big
East Track & Field Championships. But Moss has no interest in
pursuing a career in track and field. "I only run track to stay
in shape for football," says Moss, who caught 54 passes for 899
yards last season and proved to be one of the top receivers in
the country. "Football is my first love."
The job of getting the ball to Moss--who needs 626 receiving yards
to surpass Michael Irvin as Miami's alltime pass catcher--will
fall to Ken Dorsey. A classic drop-back passer, the 6'5"
sophomore was primarily a backup in 1999 but won all three of his
starts. He'll get plenty of support from James Jackson (782 yards
and nine touchdowns despite missing three games with a right knee
sprain) and a pair of big-play wideouts in senior Reggie Wayne
and junior Daryl Jones. Wayne has caught at least 40 passes in
each of the last three seasons; Jones, the 1999 Big East
100-meter outdoor champion, redshirted last year but averaged
12.2 yards per catch two years ago.
The Hurricanes are still trying to prove they're back in the big
time. Last season Miami went to a New Year's Day bowl for the
first time in five seasons under Davis. But to be considered a
serious national title contender again, the Hurricanes must
defeat Florida State and Virginia Tech; Miami hasn't beaten
either since 1994.
"It's time to stop talking and start showing it on the field,"
says Moss. "Now is the time to show we're the Canes of old. There
are no excuses."
COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER Moss runs a 4.3 40, but he'd rather use his speed on the gridiron than on the track.
1999 record: 9-4 (6-1, 2nd in Big East)
Final ranking: No. 15 AP, No. 15 coaches' poll
Punt-return yards needed by Santana Moss to break Eddie Dunn's
62-year-old school mark.
An opposing team's coach sizes up The Hurricanes
"The bulk of the D has been together for several years and has
good chemistry. It's definitely their strength. They like to
blitz and attack, which puts a lot of pressure on the
corners....At linebacker, losing Nate Webster hurts, but Dan
Morgan is awfully good. He's their leader and their hit
man....[Safety] Al Blades is tough and covers a lot of
ground....They have a ton of experience at running back, and
Moss is impossible to cover one-on-one."
Strength: 43rd of 115
Aug. 31 MCNEESE STATE
Sept. 9 at Washington
23 at West Virginia
30 at Rutgers
Oct. 7 FLORIDA STATE
21 at Temple
28 LOUISIANA TECH
Nov. 4 VIRGINIA TECH
18 at Syracuse
25 BOSTON COLLEGE
["TELLING NUMBER" COMPILED BY DAVID SABINO]