UNC players from Florida keep an eye on Hurricane Irma

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Donnie Miles, left, a safety for UNC, is from Miami. Linebacker Andre Smith is from Jacksonville, Fla. (Charlie Mickens)

As if preparing this week for the formidable task of taking on the No. 17 Louisville Cardinals and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson wasn't enough, two UNC defenders are thinking about something a little more personal, too.

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Tar Heels linebacker Andre Smith and safety Donnie Miles are focusing on the task at hand, while thinking about family in Florida.

Days ahead of the impending Hurricane Irma - the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded - Smith, who's from Jacksonville, Florida, said he contacts his mother every day to see how she's doing.

Smith told some of his family members, "You need to get out of Florida." Smith told ABC11 they texted him back with a "LOL."

"So, I don't know what's wrong with them, but you know, I told them, did you see what happened to Houston?" Smith said. "I told them they have a place to stay up here in North Carolina."

Miles, who's from Miami, has been calling his mother and father to check up on them.

Miles was trying to persuade his parents to come to the game, but his grandfather is sick and can't travel.

"I'm trying to convince everybody to leave," Miles said.

After our interview, Miles said he was going to call them again before he watches more film on Louisville.

Both players said that when it comes to practice and getting ready for Louisville, they're locked in.

"I've paid attention to it, Miles said of Irma. "And of course, I'm thinking about my family - that's the most important thing to me, but once I step into this building, once it's ball time ... I don't think about it until I get off this field."

Both Smith and Miles are trying to persuade their families to come to Chapel Hill to see the game - and Michael Jordan - who will be one of the honorary captains this week, and to watch Lamar Jackson lose, Smith said with a smile.

There are about a dozen players on UNC's roster from Florida.

Louisville quarterback Jackson is from Pompano Beach, Florida.

No doubt these players will be giving their all on Saturday afternoon, but their minds will turn toward home in Florida once the game is over. Irma is expected to hit Florida this weekend.
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sportshurricane irmaUNC Tar HeelsChapel HillOrange County
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