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Hurricanes looking for even more from offense

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Just about anyone could look at Miami's offensive numbers from the season-opening win over Florida State and be impressed.

· The 38 points, the most Miami scored on the road against a ranked opponent since 2002.

· The 476 yards, the Hurricanes' top total in an Atlantic Coast Conference game since 2005.

· The 13 plays of at least 15 yards, a display that's been lacking for years.

It all had to mean something, right?

Not in Miami's offensive meeting room, where mistakes kept showing up on the films.

'We could have put up at least 50, 60 points, but we left some touchdowns on the field,' Miami receiver Travis Benjamin said Monday. 'There's room to grow. There's always room to grow.'

So that's been the focus this week, as the 20th-ranked Hurricanes (1-0, 1-0) get set to host No. 14 Georgia Tech (2-0, 1-0) on Thursday night.

Sure, Miami savored the win over Florida State, but the 'Canes insist that even they have yet to realize the true potential of new coordinator Mark Whipple's offensive schemes.

'We understand that we have a lot more work to do,' quarterback Jacory Harris said. 'We have a whole season in front of us. We understand that we won against Florida State, but now it's Georgia Tech week. Georgia Tech has beaten us the last (four) years. I think everybody on this team's been beaten by Georgia Tech. I don't think anyone has won against them.'

Over the past two seasons especially, Miami's offense was roundly questioned for having a lack of imagination, little in the way of downfield threats and what seemed like never-ending quarterback controversy.

Not anymore.

Making only his third collegiate start, Harris threw for 386 yards against Florida State, the 10th-best total in Miami history and the fourth-best showing any quarterback had against the Seminoles in the last decade. Going back to the beginning of his junior year of high school, Harris is 32-1 as a starter.

'I was very excited and pleased because they executed the things we needed to get done and what we worked on in practice,' Miami coach Randy Shannon said. 'They executed, which is what makes you feel good about it. We'd worked on it all a lot, and guys had the confidence they could make a play.'

Harris had everything working against Florida State: Throwback passes to tight ends that had been worked on for months, short passes on quick routes that turned into big gains, and the coup de grace - a ball that Benjamin caught inside the FSU 5 with a smidge of room to spare, one that sailed 42 yards from Harris' numb hand and with a Seminole pass rusher in his face, to set up the winning touchdown.

Harris was particularly dominant on first downs against Florida State, completing 14 of 18 passes for 284 yards in those situations.

'He's matured a lot. He played composed. He made the big throws when he had to. There's no question he's a very gifted athlete,' Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said Monday.

Georgia Tech has yielded five touchdowns this season, all through the air. Most of that's been out of necessity by opponents who were trying to make up ground quickly; out of 120 total minutes in the first two games, the Yellow Jackets were leading Jacksonville State and Clemson for an eye-popping 100 minutes, 49 seconds.

Both of Georgia Tech's first two foes got into big deficits early, just like Miami did a year ago on the way to a 41-23 loss that wasn't that close.

The Hurricanes vow not to let it happen again on Thursday.

'You've got to have that feeling,' Harris said. 'As soon as we walk on the field, we've been like, 'Man, they're giving us this coverage against this play. Something's going to be open.' The offensive line, the receivers, the running backs, me, we all have so much confidence in what we're running.'

SideBar: Georgia Tech at Miami

· When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

· Where: Miami Gardens, Fla.

· TV/Radio: ESPN/790-AM