UCONN at Miami
Aikeem Jolla
Aikeem Jolla

Posted Oct 2, 2002


UCONN at Miami. Sounds like a pretty good basketball matchup. It would be very easy to look past Miami’s football game this Saturday with the Huskies, a team with a vastly inferior talent level and big-game experience than the Hurricanes.

After all, isn’t Oct. 12 what we’re all looking forward to? Another chance to claim state supremacy, score three consecutive wins over rival Florida State and wreck its troubled football program, and move one giant step closer to a sixth national title. That’s what we’re waiting for, right?

Well, hold on, because I will say it right now: I’m looking forward to this Saturday night’s game against the lowly Huskies.

Years ago, I can remember attending “epic” tilts against powerhouses like Georgia Southern, East Tennessee State, The Citadel, and other fledgling teams – all with inferior talent, all receiving huge paydays from UM, and all getting embarrassed by future NFL stars.

Forget beating UM. Most of those teams would have had difficulty against the top-ranked high school teams in Dade and Broward counties.

Scheduling blowouts is a troublesome, no-win situation. Win by 50 or 60? Big deal – you were supposed to anyway. Win by 10 or 20? Risk the scorn of the entire college nation and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get the royal treatment and get shafted by the BCS folks.

But attending UM blowouts these days has become more exciting, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Ken Dorsey hitting Andre Johnson over a smaller cornerback or Willis McGahee outracing a slow-footed defense.

Now the joy is in player development.

Over the last two years, I have followed recruiting on this website, getting weekly updates and interviews about players like Leon Williams, Akieem Jolla, and John Wood. Seeing these players hit the playing field at the OB – actually being able to put their onfield performances with their names, faces, statistics, and 40 times – is the reward of the entire recruiting process.

When the game really gets out of hand on Saturday, I hope that’s the cue for Marc Guillon to start loosening up the right arm and looking for wide receivers like Jolla, Ryan Moore, and Sinorice Moss, with protection from Rashad Butler and Tony Tella.

On the other side of the ball, Wood, Williams, and John Square would appear to be fixtures in next year’s defensive unit. And it will also be enjoyable to see newcomers in the secondary like the hard-hitting Brandon Merriweather and Greg Threatt getting even more playing time.

That’s the true joy of the blowout: Seeing future Hurricane stars getting some reps on the field in game situation.

As for Oct. 12? Don’t worry, it will be here soon enough.


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