I was standing there with my phone ready to shoot video. I was ignoring the music.
During warmups before Miami and Duke last Friday, whomever was running the sound system at Wallace Wade Stadium was playing “Uptown Funk,” which felt … stale.
Then Waka Flocka dropped and the Hurricanes were feeling it. Full disclose: as was I.
Regularly heard at the high school practices I used to cover back in the day in Palm Beach County, a staple of recruiting highlight films circa 2010-12, something of a recent classic among the present audience: “O Let’s Do It” is a jam. The song is driven by the hook, which is simple and catchy and chanted over a bouncing beat. It was more than enough to get the Hurricanes hyped as they took the field.
The video I shot may get you fired up, regardless of your rooting interests.
Miami went onto win 31-6. I still believe this is evidence of a major blunder on Duke’s behalf: it let the visiting team warm up right in front of the giant wall of speakers on the video board at the open end of the stadium. The other end of Wallace Wade Stadium is all seats, no speakers, so Duke warmed up on a quiet pasture compared to Miami’s club atmosphere.
In theory, it was nice for the home fans who want to shout encouragement at their team, but in practice, on this Friday night with most of the crowd yet to arrive, the Duke half was pretty quiet. And Miami, on the other end, was partying like Miami does. Few teams are more comfortable in the club.
They scored two touchdowns quickly and didn’t allow a point to a decent and yet-unbeaten team in the second half. Good recipe for a road win. The Turnover Chain, a new twist on the Hurricanes’ old-school shine, made two appearances (call it 2 Chainz). In postgame interviews, linebacker Michael Pinckney was talking about how much he likes Cuban links, and how he always wanted to wear one.
Miami players used to wear shirts that said “Wefense.” This is more fun.
If the Turnover Chain comes out in Tallahasee, and the Canes win, that’ll be more evidence Miami is on the way back. If they face Clemson in ACC title game and put up a fight, I might consider saying they’re back. Clemson’s that good, and Miami’s roster still has enough holes that they’d be ahead of schedule to take down the defending champs, I feel.
This much I know: they’re damn sure heading in the right direction, and having a lot of fun doing it. My first three years on this beat were spent covering a too-serious coach (Al Golden) and a group of players that, possibly taking cues from his locked-down approach, didn’t always seem to be enjoying themselves. This is damn sure more fun.
Mark Richt seems to have let his players create their own culture, encouraged by those who understand it, like defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, a Miami native, and his staff. They have the ’86 Gang’ t-shirts and the Turnover Chain and the Hit Stick and ‘The Standard,’ and so far, it’s all working quite well. If you follow players on social media, you’ll notice this: the locker room is loose. There are rap battles and dancing and pranks among the usual documenting of the “grind.” Social media, many times, is a reflection of our best lives, but it sure looks like a lot of fun to be a Hurricane in 2017.
Sort of like the old days, from what I’m told.
National media like ABC/ESPN’s Chris Fowler are showing love. Hear what he, Kirk Herbstreit and producer Chris “The Bear” Fallica (a UM grad) said about the Canes while working the Clemson-Virginia Tech game:
More Miami-Duke coverage