-- Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer seems so concerned about Miami's Devin Hester, the Hokies might be more apt to kick the football out of bounds rather than allow him to return a punt. But while Hester is often the focus of opposing coaches' game plans, cornerback Jimmy Williams said Hurricanes wide receiver Sinorice Moss is the player that has him the most concerned.
A senior wideout and the brother of Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, Sinorice is one of the fastest players in college football.
"The guy is like a torpedo," Williams said.
"To be honest, he might be the fastest player in college football other than [Ohio State wide receiver] Ted Ginn. He's always running past people. People can't keep up with him."
Williams and cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Roland Minor will have to make sure Moss doesn't run by them in Saturday night's game between the No. 3 Hokies and No. 5 Hurricanes at Lane Stadium. Moss is averaging 57 receiving yards per game, eighth most in the ACC, and his 20-yard average per reception is second-best among ACC receivers with 20 catches or more.
"A lot of people know that I have good speed, but when I get in a game and run by people, I think I surprise them a little bit," Moss said.
Santana Moss, who leads the Redskins with 42 catches and five touchdown receptions in his first season with the team, isn't surprised by his brother's success. When they were growing up in Miami, Santana would race his younger brothers in the street. Santanta always gave his brothers a head start and still beat them by several yards. But Santana knows Sinorice doesn't need a head start anymore.
Sinorice Moss, 21, is about 41/2 years younger and two inches shorter than his brother. He didn't become a full-time starter until this year, but he showed spurts of his explosiveness last season, when he scored the game-tying touchdown on a 30-yard catch-and-run with 30 seconds left against Florida State in the 2004 opener.
"I think he can play on Sunday" in the NFL, Santana Moss said. "Just because of who he is and what he brings to the game. I'm not saying that because he's a Moss; I'm saying it because of what kind of person he is. He's a motivated person and he always had to deal with being under me and it brought the best out of him, and I didn't see that when we were younger."
Sinorice Moss, 5 feet 8, 185 pounds, admits playing at Miami in the shadow of his brother has been difficult at times. Santana Moss is the third-leading receiver in Miami history -- only Reggie Wayne and Lamar Thomas caught more passes for the Hurricanes. Santana Moss's 2,546 receiving yards are the most in school history, 123 more than Miami all-American and longtime Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin had in college, and his 1,196 punt return yards and 4,394 all-purpose yards are school records.
So Sinorice Moss certainly knows what Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick has gone through the past three years. Marcus Vick chose to play for the Hokies after his older brother, Michael Vick, was an all-American quarterback at Tech. Moss had scholarship offers from North Carolina State, Louisiana State and Rutgers, but chose to play the same position at the same school as his brother.
"I remember at the beginning of the season, I was watching Virginia Tech play, and the announcers were like, 'Marcus will never be as good as Michael,' " Moss said. "Man, just let the man play football. We're our own person. We've been blessed with the ability to play football. Quit comparing us to our older brothers."
Sinorice Moss was hampered by injuries during his first two seasons at Miami. He played his freshman season in 2002 with torn ligaments in his left ankle and caught only three passes. Moss caught eight passes as a sophomore, but was bothered by ligament damage in his left knee. Finally, after having offseason knee surgery before his junior season, he started making the big plays his older brother made so often at Miami.
After catching two long touchdowns in the final 3 minutes 46 seconds of the Redskins' 14-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 19, Santana Moss got to watch his brother play five days later during Washington's bye week. Sinorice Moss caught five passes for 111 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown on a long post pattern, in the Hurricanes' 23-3 win over Colorado.
Santana Moss left the Orange Bowl wondering whether his younger brother could finally catch him.
"He's got some good wheels on him," Santana Moss said. "I know he's a lot faster than he was before."
Staff writer Jason La Canfora contributed to this report.