Last post before we make the trip to UNC.
Got an e-mail, about how quickly I closed the window on Q & A. There was a good question/suggestion in there.
The question/idea I had was for you to list your top whatever. Everyone loves lists. Lists like…top 3 stadiums to play in and why…top 3 games so far at UConn and why….top 3 opposing fans…top 3 pet peeves ….top 3 cliches ..that the coaches overuse….
Top Three Stadiums to play in (besides the ‘Rent):
1. West Virginia (Morgantown)- There’s nothing like that atomosphere, it’s simply electric. I think it’s half the stadium, and half the fans (and probably half the moonshine). There’s also nothing like getting beer and batteries thrown at you. Don’t ask me why it’s beer and batteries, either (and don’t ask someone from WV to spell batteries). Something I’ll always regret in my career is never coming away with a W there.
2. Pittsburgh– Sharing a stadium with an NFL team is NOT always a good thing (here’s lookin’ at you, Temple). But their locker room is by far the nicest away locker room we stay in. It was even better than the visiting locker room at Ford Field (back in 2004…maybe they’ve updated since the Lions have had so much success…oh wait….)
3. University of Virginia– I don’t know where their field turf management team came from, but that is one awesome place to play. We watched the film and thought it was synthetic, until we showed up there. It’s manicured to perfection. Rumor has it the remains of Thomas Jefferson are mixed into every batch of lawn seed, so the seeds grow up strong (and loving democracy). Also, it’s one of the most hostile places to play.
Top Three Opposing Fans:
1. West Virginia – Ruthless. Simply ruthless. I was doing my pregame routine, praying, when I kneeled by the student section and was promptly instructed to “Keep Praying (expletive), you better (expletive) pray that we don’t (expletive) murder you tonight.” I’m pretty sure that fan is going to hell. But kudos on making the top three.
2. Rutgers– New Jersey. Don’t let the blowouts, hair gel, and glow sticks fool you. They’re tough.
3. Hofstra- Haha yeah right. Syracuse- Maybe it’s the fans, maybe its the Dome, I dont know, but they do have a committed student section. I think after this week UNC might be in the mix. (Indiana was a close runner-up).
Top Three Games at UConn:
1. South Florida 2007- Ranked opponent. Crowd rushes the field. Best feeling ever.
2. Louisville 2007- Getting hits on future NFL QB Brian Brohm all night, sealing the victory with an interception, playing in the pouring rain. You can’t buy memories like that. (Keep tryin’ Bill Gates.)
3. Pitt 2006- OT Win, showed a lot of grit. That win carried us through some dark times that season (4-8…blahhh). DJ Hernandez throws the ball out of the stadium; tremendous moxy.
Top Three Cliches-
(mostly from high school, our college coaches are pretty inspiring)
1. Concentrate on your schoolwork- True? Yes. But Coming from a guy who barely graduated, with his degree in GYM, excuse me, “Physical Education.” (This one compliments one of my high school coaches.)
2. “God, Family, School, Football…those are your priorities”- It’s true that those are priorities. But, after 5 years, I’m not so sure they’re in that order.
3. Football players have it easy- (Okay, not technically a cliche, more of a stereotype.) We don’t have it easy. At all. In fact, we are held to a higher standard than most. And when it comes to professors, technically they can’t make attendance mandatory, and technically they can’t punish you for missing a class due to a game. Ask any of my teammates, suffering participation grades are proof. It’s an uphill battle.
Top Three Worst Stadiums to play in (not to be confused with toughest)
1, 2, 3, Army –Blaik Field at Michie Stadium (by far the worst)– I actually had two experiences at this gem of a stadium. Once as a high school senior (NY v. NJ All-Star Game. Yes, NY won: Tyvonn Branch and Rob Lunn v. Dan Davis). Their visiting locker room is circa 1924. No air conditioning, just a giant fan that sounds like it’s about to take off (Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?). On top of that, cracked concrete floors, wooden benches (with splinters!), and possibly the worst of all…one shower room for players and coaches. I’ll spare the details, but yes, awful. Furthermore, if there is an Asian-Bird-Flu outbreak, I’m pretty sure ground zero will be that locker room tunnel, where birds have made a lovely home of the concrete beams that lead out to the playing field, and the walls are lined (literally lined) with bird poop. What makes this the worst place to play is that, while the stadium (and the view) are gorgeous, every time I leave there my first call is to my doctor. “Yes, that’s right, two tetanus shots…mhmm, yeh, and a polio vaccine. See you Monday at 4:00.”
Top Three Things Said On a Football Field:
1. “Get your hands off me, I’m a millionaire” – Ray Rice, Rutgers. Oh Ray, money can’t buy height, you’re still pocket-sized to me. But he was very good.
2. “Wait, we punted?”-Steve Brouse, at Cincinnati 2007, suffering from a concussion. Steve Brouse played 2 series, not remembering any of it. Not only did he serve on the punt team, but he also caught a pass, none of which he remembers. Some of us actually wish we could forget that game.
3. “Party in the endzone! Party in the endzone”- Tyler Lorenzen, first rushing TD of career. Like an over-caffeinated 8 year-old at Chuck E. Cheese. Ty could hardly contain the excitement of scoring his first TD (like hitting 500 on skee-ball).
Top Three Escort Services (don’t get too excited, I mean Police Escorts)
For those who don’t know, we get a police escort to and from the stadium and airports.
1. Georgia Tech Police- Pretty sure they watched a combination of Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, and Reno 911 as their training videos. I don’t wanna say they take their jobs too seriously, but was the air support really necessary?
2.Duke- I know, I know, nation’s longest losing streak, but they do a great job. Maybe it’s ’cause they want to usher the shame out of their state as quickly as possible. Again, these people took a page out of the Starsky/Hutch-Burt Reynolds playbook. Starsky and Hutch for the over-the-top escort; Reynolds for the tremendous upper lip fur.
3. Louisville- Motorcycles? K-9 Cars? Mandatory Crown Victorias? Yes, Yes, and Yes. Well done all around on that one.
Hope that answers some of the “Top Three” you might have wondered about. Gettin’ late, and Pitt is currently beating South Florida. ‘Bout to go to bed, big weekend ahead. Let’s get it!