Miami's Cooper looking for 1,000-yard season

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Miami running back Graig Cooper is aiming for 1,000 yards this fall, and he wasn't too far away last year with a team-high 841 yards.

"I actually didn't know I was that close to 1,000 yards," he said.

The Canes haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Willis McGahee in 2002, but Cooper said he's had a great summer so far and the offensive line is as good as he's seen it.

"I got a whole lot more explosive," said Cooper, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry last year. "I ran a 4.3 this offseason. I wouldn't mind rushing for over 1,000 yards. I'm sure our other RBs are saying the same thing. It just comes from getting that extra yardage, making that safety miss. I just have to take that extra step."

Cooper definitely has the potential for a 1,000-yard season. He had three 100-yard rushing games last year as a sophomore and led the team with six touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving and one punt return). That versatility is exactly what first-year coordinator Mark Whipple is looking for in his offense.

Miami has a daunting schedule, but Cooper said the Hurricanes are taking it one step at a time and have been focused on Florida State "since the Emerald Bowl." He said the biggest task this summer will be to make sure they get Whipple's system "down pat come game time."

"He made a completely different change," Cooper said. "He made the offense (more fun). He brings more confidence. It's going to be a whole lot more explosive."

So will Cooper.