I know you all can hear it now, the creed of the modern day gladiator, “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls . . . Lets get ready to RUMBLE!” And make no mistake, the Orange Bowl will rumble on Saturday afternoon as the Virginia Tech Hokies prepare to take on the defending National Champion Miami Hurricanes.
Sure the Hokies have lost three games. Yes, they may not even be the third best team in the Big East. But this fact remains, they are the only team between the ‘Canes and another shot at a National Title.
In the last 27 years, only two programs can boast back-to-back National Titles, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The ‘Canes are a win away from an opportunity to join those storied programs. The OB will be sold out, the party will begin at 9:00 A.M., and if the ‘Canes play as they are capable, the “fiesta” will continue in Arizona. So, what will decide Saturday’s game? Ken Dorsey.
Much has been made about the Hokie’s ability to play “Beamerball,” but what the heck is this “Beamerball?” Well, “Beamerball,” was supposedly created by Tech Head Coach, Frank Beamer. The basic premise is that a very good defense and a great special teams will give your team the field position it needs to score enough points to outscore your opponent. In fact, if you have watch many Tech games this year, you have probably noticed that an inordinate number of their touchdowns come while they are playing on a very short field. You will not see the Hokies drive 80 yards often.
So, as in years past, the Hokies will scratch and scrape at the ‘Canes for whatever field position they can muster. Freddie Capshaw must be ready to punt fast. Get the ball out of there and don’t risk a block. At the very worst, throw a pass if you must, as long as you force the Hokie offense on the field to earn points for their team. Don’t give up points in the special teams.
Defensively, Tech is ranked 18th nationally in defending against the run. That being said, as of late, opposing running backs have found success against the Turkeys. They have especially found trouble against teams with balanced attacks like Pitt and even Boston College. On offense, Willis McGahee is key, but the key to success against Tech is Ken Dorsey. If Dorsey has success early in the passing game, Tech will be forced to play on their heels, setting them up perfectly for a McGahee scamper. Unlike the usual modus operandi of setting up the pass with the run, set up the run with the pass.
V-Tech’s offense can be summed up in two words, “The Untouchables.” You lay a finger or two on them, and let Tech quarterback Brian Randall try to beat you. Sounds easy enough, but much harder to accomplish in reality. Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones are great backs, and Miami has not faired well against great backs all season. Remember though, those great back played on much more balanced football teams. Is this the week that the ‘Canes demonstrate that run defense that completely smothered Nebraska in last year’s Rose Bowl? We’ll have to wait and see.
As for the game plan, Coach Coker has to remember the lessons learned from last year’s game with the Hokies and this year’s game with the Pitt Panthers, when you have a team down who is capable of coming back, don’t back off, tighten the noose. Keep doing what you did to put you in that position in the first place. Keep their defense off balance with a deep route ever so often. Keep their offense in their toes by sending an extra man or two to greet Mr. Randall.
‘Canes fans, you have a game plan to follow too for this game. I’m going to be at tailgating from 8:00 A.M. just like the rest of you, and I’m going to have myself a good time. but please, those of you with thoughts of throwing bags of Tostitos on the field, please don’t. remember two years ago, when we were playing Boston College, and we thought a win would rightfully place us in the Orange Bowl? Well, for those of you that forgot, the ‘Canes absolutely humiliated BC, and still were given the cold shoulder by the BCS. Now, I’m not saying that will happen again. I am worried about the referees giving our team 15 yard penalties for the actions of a few drunk fans. This game will be a lot closer than the BC game of two years ago. Think before you act. Once the game is over, take a bath in Tostitos for all I care, just don’t whip them out during the game.
Only hours from now, our Hurricanes will take the Orange Bowl field, some for their very last time as players. It is up to you to show them how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication to our University and community. Dig deep, and support your team the only way you truly can. Exclaim to the heavens and let the nation know that the Orange Bowl and the Miami Hurricanes are truly, UNBEATABLE!
Carlos graduated from both the University of Miami School of Business and the School of Law. He is currently working as a first year associate at Steel Hector & Davis LLP in Miami, Florida. He has been covering Hurricane Athletics since his law school days were he was a sports writer, Sports Editor, and Editor-in-Chief of the law school’s student journal, the Res Ipsa Loquitur.