CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – As the Hurricanes go into the final stages of preparation for this weekend’s showdown with North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the Canes continue to emphasize playing fast and aggressive on defense.READ MORE: Florida Gas Prices At Highest Level Since 2014
They cannot give up big plays to North Carolina.
Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams carries a hot set of dice into Saturday’s game, coming off one of the best performances ever by a quarterback at North Carolina.
Last Saturday against Duke in less than three full quarters he passed for a school-record 494 yards and four touchdowns.
By halftime, Williams had passed for 404 yards, which set a school record for one half. He threw touchdown passes of 89 (to Ryan Switzer), 74 (to Mack Hollins) and 49 yards (to Bug Howard).
“When you look at the deep balls he completed it’s as good as you’ll see,” said interim head coach Larry Scott. “His receivers never broke stride or slowed down. Every throw was right on the money.”
The Carolina defense that Miami will see is steady. They don’t add a lot of extra pressure.
They feel their four down lineman, plus one can get them all the pressure they need.
The secondary is strong, led by safety Donnie Miles, who grew up in Carol City.
Miles is the Tar Heels leading tackler with 73 and while he grew up in Miami he played his high school football in Georgia.READ MORE: Pembroke Pines Police Say No Credibility In Viral Online School Threat
An area where Miami has vastly improved is on third downs. In their last three ACC Coastal games the Canes have connected on 25 of 46 third down conversions, good for a 56 percent success rate.
Wide receiver Stacy Coley is responsible for much of that success.
The junior wide out has 33 catches in seven games, most coming in the last five. His 33 catches are second on the team and Coley, who posted his second career 100-yard receiving game last time out against Virginia, ranks first in the ACC with an average of 95.0 yards per conference game.
He has 486 total receiving yards.
Coley has caught at least five passes in four of the last five games, and has 475 yards over that span; the junior has recorded a touchdown in back-to-back games for the first time since November 2013.
“He has been phenomenal,” said offensive coordinator James Coley. “We need to continue to feed him the ball and find ways to get easy access into the secondary so we can get him the ball on the run.”
This will be an interesting challenge and likely one of the keys to the game as the North Carolina secondary only allows 159 passing yards per game which is second in the nation.
After making his return to the lineup last time out against Virginia, sophomore QB Brad Kaaya remains near the top of the ACC in a number of individual categories, including passing yards (2,132, second), passing yards per game (266.5, first) and total offense (2,072 yards, fifth).
Kaaya moved into a tie for tenth place all-time at Miami with his 38th career passing touchdown against Virginia.
Listen to the Miami Hurricanes take on the North Carolina Tar Heels this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, your official radio home for the Canes!MORE NEWS: Legendary Musician Billy Joel Coming Back To Seminole Hard Rock Casino In Hollywood
Follow Joe Zagacki on Twitter (@canesvoice)