Bryan Pata (1984-2006) played in 41 games at Miami making 23 starts and posting 11 sacks.
Coker: "It's very difficult"
Coker recalled a memory he had of Pata when Pata signed his letter of intent to attend the University of Miami.
"I remember being with Bryan in his home when he actually signed and how elated his mom was that he was going to go college and get to a degree."
Coker described Pata as being "very pleasant to be around" and having a great work ethic and always had a smile on his face.
"It,s very difficult," Coker said. "We are going to get through today. Last night was a shock. Today is a reality. We'll get through today and work on tomorrow."
The team plans on playing this weekend's game at Maryland.
"We want to do the very best we can to represent our university and Bryan Pata," Coker said.
The Hurricanes are 5-4 this season and have had incidents throughout the season including last Saturday's game when fans were spitting on players.
"We've had a lot of distractions this year and this is an ultimate distraction," Coker said.
When something like this happens, it reminds people that football is just a game.
"We all know that, but this just magnifies this," Coker said. "I've had so many calls from coaches around the country. That is why you do things the right way. We have a saying in the weight room, 'Keep the main thing the main thing' and that is we are trying to do."
"We are definitely in a grieving time. You don't get over it, but you do move past. That is what we are trying to do one day at a time."
When asked if he wanted to just get this season over with because of all that has happened, Coker responded:
"You can wish and deal with hypotheticals, but you have to deal with reality. We are the University of Miami and we can handle it. Losing games is not a tragedy, this is a tragedy."
Christopher Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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