Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Druck traded to Miami

One of my sports-fan dreams came true Monday when former Tech QB Jim Druckenmiller was traded to the Miami Dolphins by the San Francisco 49ers. This event breathes life back into a career that was floundering out in San Francisco for Druck, and puts him into a setting where he’s much more likely to succeed.

Druck needs to be with a team that will utilize him as a classic drop-back passer, not try to cram him into that West Coast offense, where the quarterback scrambles around and dinks the other team to death with eight-yard passes. I still shake my head that the Niners drafted Druck ahead of Arizona State’s Jake Plummer, whose talents are much more suited to San Fran’s style of play. That’s dumber than the team that drafted a 270-pound J.C. Price to play nose guard in a 3-4 system the year before (I believe it was Carolina that did that, if memory serves me correctly).

There’s more to benefit Druck here than just a change in style. He will now also be playing for a coach who is, shall we say, not so buttoned-down as the folks out in San Francisco. Much like the Niners, the Dolphins are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, but the difference is that Jimmy Johnson is capable of dealing with the wild-cards of the football world and getting them to play, practice, and win on his terms. The Niners are more of a stodgy outfit. At least, that’s my impression, not that I follow pro sports closely.

But one thing has not changed. In Miami, much like in San Francisco, Druckenmiller will be playing behind an aging legend whose retirement date is visible on the near horizon. If Druck is to be the "quarterback of the future" for his new team, much like his old team, he will be stepping into the shoes of a much-loved legend. On a local level, where the beat writers can make or break the public opinion of a young player, there is very little difference between replacing Dan Marino in Miami and replacing Steve Young in San Francisco.

My own melodramatic opinion is that it’s high noon for Druckenmiller’s career. This is probably Jim’s last chance. It has been proven that he can’t run the West Coast offense in San Francisco. Will the strong-armed Druckenmiller be able to replace another strong-armed quarterback in South Florida? Will he even be given the chance? I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t wait to buy a trading card with Druck in a Dolphins uniform.


Will Wonders Never Cease?

Every time something remarkable or unusual happens, there’s a line from the movie Wayne’s World that I like to utter as a joke. Specifically, the line was spoken by Ed O’Neill (Al Bundy of "Married With Children" fame), who in the movie works behind the counter of a donut shop. At one point in the movie, he shrugs and says, "Well, the world’s a twisted place."

On Monday, I heard that the UAB game is sold out.

Well, the world’s a twisted place.

Conventional wisdom holds that the UAB game will be lightly attended. It is the week after a not-so-inspiring JMU affair. It precedes a Thursday night contest against Clemson. Let’s be blunt: it’s a dud of a game sandwiched between two much more attractive contests – the season opener and a big game with a "name" team.

Most intelligent Hokie fans were guessing an attendance number of just over 40,000 for UAB. So much for that theory.

Of course, something we’ll find out on Saturday is that in this brave new world of Hokie football, "sold out" does not necessarily equal "full stadium." Tech sold almost 5,000 season tickets more than last year, and that means that there are 5,000 fewer tickets available for any given game. That’s 5,000 fewer tickets it takes to sell a contest out. Even with the 2100 new seats in the North end zone, that’s almost 3000 fewer tickets that the Hokies need to sell to "sell out" a game.

It will be interesting to see how closely a sell-out corresponds to a full stadium for Saturday. In any event, it’s a watershed event in Virginia Tech football history when the Hokies can sell out a 52,000 seat Lane Stadium for a UAB game that falls one week after a JMU sellout.

Remember 1996? Coming off our 1995 Sugar Bowl win, and featuring a nationally ranked program on its way to an Orange Bowl, we played Southwest Louisiana. As I remember, we did pretty well in ticket sales, but we "only" sold 47,000 tickets.

Now, three years later, we sell 5,000 more tickets to UAB.

Well, the world’s a twisted place.


Big Brothers/Big Sisters Tickets

Speaking of UAB tickets, if you’re not going to use yours, be sure to send them in to us here at HokieCentral so we can donate them to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the New River Valley. You can find out how to send them in by going to HokieCentral’s Football Page and clicking on the "BBBS Tickets" link in the "HC Exclusives" section.

There are directions there that tell you how to get a receipt so your donation will be tax-deductible. Please note that if you send your tickets in and they arrive later than 10:00 a.m. on Friday, it is not guaranteed that I will get them to the BBBS.

For the JMU game, we collected and donated approximately 30 tickets. The BBBS is mucho appreciative of the donations, so send ‘em in!


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