Mark Richt is appreciating this Miami Hurricanes season, raucous home atmosphere

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes takes the field during a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

[15 stats, notes facts about Miami-Notre Dame]

[Five things we learned from Miami-Virginia Tech]

[UM No. 7 in AP poll for first time since 2013]

[Canes open as a home underdog to Irish]

Day-after thoughts from Mark Richt, who spoke to reporters Sunday evening via teleconference:

* How much does Richt enjoy these wins, in the moment? “I’ve learned to celebrate victories a lot,” he said, the night after the game and “until I get out of church. Then you’ve got to get back to work.”

He said he typically reflects in full around midsummer. He pulls up TV copies of last year’s games, watch them one at a time and “kind of relive the whole thing and reminisce about it.” As he’s working through this season, he’s enjoying it, but only for a few moments.

“You really do have to move on,” he said.

* Richt was in the Orange Bowl as a player from 1978-82, and as a Florida State assistant in the 1980s and ’90s. How did Saturday’s atmosphere compare to some of the hotter nights at the old yard? “It was great. I’ll say this: Every so often, I’ll take my headset off to listen and see how loud it really is. … There’s no doubt our crowd was on it, really from the beginning until the very end. Really proud of everyone who came and supported us. It was tremendous. There’s been a lot of big games and that was a big one. It was a great night.”

Will fans keep showing up?

“Oh, I think they’ll show up. I think they have a good time, and I know they want to have another good time. When we roll into the parking lot at Hard Rock on Saturday night, it’s going to be as jam-packed or even more than it was this weekend. … Hopefully there won’t be any empty seats.”

* Richt hopes his team is “growing and getting better” as it goes along: “Just about every game we’ve played has been a barnburner, and has been intense. … Every game we’ve played thus far has prepared us for the next one. And here we go with another highly ranked team, one that has a lot of goals and aspirations as well.”

* No. 1 thing that jumps out to Richt about Notre Dame: “Stopping the run. … They’ve run the ball so well. This last week they had 700 yards of offense (against Wake Forest). That’s tough to do, so they’re very impressive.” The Irish are “big, strong, physical and can hammer you” on defense, he said, and haven’t given up many big plays — which is how Miami has lived at times.

* On what Miami-Notre Dame really means, as a measuring stick game: “It’s just two really good teams playing each other. … Both teams have proven themselves to this point, deep enough into the season, that we’re both high-quality teams at this point.”

* Injury updates? “We came out good. Always some guys banged-up a little bit here and there but I don’t think anything too serious.”

* On building depth in-season, with young players like Derrick Smith, Jon Garvin and Amari Carter seeing more time of late: “If you’re recruiting well, you’re going to have true freshmen play. Usually when true freshmen play, they get better in a hurry. We’ve had some guys who are starting as freshmen and some guys who are playing a backup role. Every championship team I’ve been on has freshmen who give us a boost.”

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