Wednesday, November 13th, 1996
I was sitting here thinking about the Miami game, and I realized after a while that I want to win this game almost as bad as I want to win the Virginia game. Make no bones about it - I never liked Miami, and now that they're playing the Hokies every year, with a conference championship at stake, I'm finding that I like them even less.
The origin of a good portion of this bad blood comes from watching Miami over the years, and observing their trash-talking, on-the-field antics. The only thing worse than a poor loser is a poor winner, and over the years, Miami has been one of the poorest winners of all. Their boorish behavior on the field against Texas in the 1991 Cotton Bowl is legendary as a low mark in bad sportsmanship.
Some of it also comes from observing the behavior of a good portion of their fans, who for some reason take pride in being jerks (I challenge you, just TRY and have a decent conversation on a message board with a Miami fan - there is one Miami "fan" in particular, who will go unnamed here, who routinely makes an ass out of himself on the Big East message board, which oddly enough, exists on a site maintained by Mike Bakas, one of the coolest 'Canes I've ever met).
But most of the bad blood I feel comes from the unbelievable trash the 'Canes talked at the end of last year, as the Alliance Bowl bids were approaching. Two months after Tech had dominated Miami in every phase of the game in Blacksburg, rolling up 300 yards rushing and shutting down the Hurricane offense, Miami went on a crusade in the press. Miami players dissed the Hokies to any reporter who was within earshot, calling Tech a "sandlot" team, and saying that if the two teams played again, Tech wouldn't have a chance. Even Butch Davis got into the act, saying that the Hurricanes were a better team than the Hokies. Well, sorry, Miami, you had your chance on September 23rd, 1995, and Tech was the better team.
This Saturday, they'll line it up and go helmet-to-helmet again, and settle this thing the only place it can be settled - on the field. All the message boards and all the web pages and all the email in the world doesn't mean a thing when two teams take to the turf, and on Saturday, we'll find out which of this year's editions - the Hokies or the Hurricanes - is better.
I would just like to remind the Hokie players to think about everything the Hurricanes said at the end of last year. Tech has gone 16-1 in the 17 games they've played since their last meeting with Miami, but as far as the 'Canes are concerned, the Hokies are just another pretender. Just another weak sister who can't hold a candle to the mighty Miami dynasty. Let that stick in your craw when you line up on Saturday, Tech, and win one for every Hokie fan and every Hokie football player who hates being disrespected.
And win or lose come Saturday, the trash talk will no doubt rain down from the Miami fans who cruise the Internet and make their presence known. Do what you will, 'Canes, because I expect it. And I'm not listening.
Lastly, the obligatory ... "Go Hokies!"
More Thoughts on the ECU Game
You've got to admit, Ricky Bustle called a great game last Saturday night. He mixed in some pass, but for the most part, he played to the Hokies' strength by battering the ECU defensive line with Tech's big, athletic offensive linemen.
And the call on Brian Edmonds's 15-yard shuttle-pass TD was a thing of sheer beauty. I was watching that play, and before the snap, I was highly insulted that ECU thought they could line up 10 or 11 guys right on the line and get away with it. Well, they didn't. The instant Edmonds caught the ball at the 15, the crowd erupted, because there wasn't anybody within ten yards of Edmonds, and not a single Pirate stood in between him and the end zone. I don't know if Bustle called that play or if Druck audibled to it, but it's one of the most beautiful calls I've ever seen.
The Eagle Eye award goes to reader Paul Burtner, who noticed that the Tech coaches remembered ECU Coach Steve Logan's love of the trick play and kept in the defense whenever ECU punted from around midfield. The only thing the Hokies did in those situations was bring Shawn Scales in and drop him back to receive the punt.
And what about those orange Starter jackets the Hokies coaches wore on the sidelines Saturday night? Ugh!! On the positive side, I saw a new Starter pullover jacket in the store the other day that is black and features maroon stripes on the sleeves. Sharp! My only complaint is that from a distance, it looks like a South Carolina jacket. The maroon is a little too dark, and the jacket doesn't feature enough orange to ID it as a Hokie jacket easily.
Other Miscellaneous News Items
AD Dave Braine told a caller on tonight's Hokie Hotline that ground-breaking for the new Merryman Athletic facility will occur at 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning the day of the WVU game, November 23rd. Dave says that it will take about a year to complete the building, and that about $800,000 more in funds need to be raised to cover the $7 million cost ... after naming Druck the #2 QB prospect in the draft and completely ignoring Brian Edmonds, draft analyst Mel Kiper has rated Bryan Jennings the #5 tight end in the upcoming draft ... be sure to check out Grassy Knoll's excellent Miami Hurricanes page this week. Go to my links page and click on the Miami helmet under "Football Opponent's Web sites."