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Hurricanes coach Mark Richt debuts at ACC Kickoff

Richt gives Brad Kaaya control of offense; team sets sights on Coastal Division

New Hurricanes football coach Mark Richt speaks to the media Thursday during the ACC Media Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C.
New Hurricanes football coach Mark Richt speaks to the media Thursday during the ACC Media Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As the Atlantic Coast Conference arrived in Charlotte for its annual ACC Kickoff, the Hurricanes were one of the teams in the spotlight.

While returning quarterback Brad Kaaya is a big reason, the new head man in town is the biggest.

Mark Richt takes over as the Hurricanes head coach less than a year after Al Golden was fired following a 58-0 loss to Clemson. However, one thing remains the same: the focus on winning the school's first-ever ACC division championship, even ahead of beating in-state rival FSU.

"The reality is our goal is to win the Coastal Division," Richt said. "You can win that game and lose the Coastal. You can lose that game and win the Coastal. Our job is to win that game and get back to the ACC championship game."

"Right now, it's a Coastal and ACC championship," Kaaya said of the team's goals. "You can say all the things you want about Miami and all the championships we've won getting back to years past. One thing we've never done is won an ACC and a Coastal championship."

Kaaya noted one major difference under the new coaching staff is a lot more workouts before the sun comes up.

"A lot more early mornings, that's one thing," Kaaya said. "Pretty cool. A lot of guys had the choice to be up at 6 a.m., be in there at 6 a.m. without group."

The Hurricanes kick off Richt's first season Sept. 3 versus Florida A&M. Richt said he would be letting Kaaya take control.

"A lot of teams will call the cadence and the quarterback will look to the sideline, the coach will kind of tell him what he wants him to do," Richt said. "I like to teach quarterbacks to know what to do. Brad will be orchestrating what's going on up front the entire ballgame."