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December 31, 2006

Canes ready for cold bowl game tonight

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The latest Boise forecast calls for kickoff temperatures in the low 30s tonight and dropping into the 20s as the game progresses.

Miami will utilize heated benches to try and ward off the weather in the bowl game against Nevada.

"When the adrenaline is flowing and you're playing the game, you really don't notice the cold that much," coach Larry Coker said. "It'll be colder on me than it will be on the guys playing the game."

This is, of course, Coker's final game as a Cane.

"It's certainly a disappointment for me to be coaching in the final game," Coker said. "Somehow I feel if we can end it on a positive note and win, I'll be pleased. The main thing is, I think these players know that I'm in it for them. It's never been about me."

What went wrong in the Coker era?

Coker has an explanation.

"I may be a victim from the success the program has had," he said. "You look at what Dennis [Erickson] has done. You look at Jimmy Johnson. Look at Howard Schnellenberger. I'm just one of many.

"If we win this football game, from a selfish standpoint, in six years I'll have won 10 games a year [on average] for six years. That's pretty good. I'd like to see you do a little study on the next six and see how much better than that the next coach does."

Coker's legacy will be one national title and a program that struggled in his last three years.

"I'd like to be remembered, I guess, for really caring about the players and first of all making sure they graduated," Coker said. "It is about winning. There's no substitute for that. These players have won a lot of football games and I've been fortunate to be around some great, great players when we won a lot of games. Mainly I just want to be remembered as a person that was in it for the right reasons and did it the right way."

* Todd Berry will get his first chance to call plays tonight.

Coker said the offense won't look a lot different, adding, "but we'd like to give our players an opportunity to showcase themselves and we'd like to be aggressive. Hopefully we talk after the game on Sunday and you'll say, 'Wow, I like that.' But it comes down to making plays."

* Coker imposed a 10:30 p.m. curfew on the team last night after allowing players to stay out as late as 1 a.m. during the last week.

"They're usually in bed by 10:30 anyway," Coker joked.

* LB Jon Beason and TE Greg Olsen said they will make a decision on whether to leave early for the NFL in the days following the game. It's expected Olsen will leave; Beason wants to be sure he will be in the first round before leaving.

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