The atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday was electric. So much so, that even the owners of the building were impressed by the party their tenants threw.
WQAM host Joe Rose, a former Dolphins tight end and current Dolphins broadcaster, told Mark Richt during their Monday morning radio spot that the Dolphins “players, coaching staff and front-office folks” who attended the Miami-Notre Dame game “said it was the loudest they’ve ever heard that stadium, not even close. The closest they had was the old Orange Bowl,” the stadium that hosted the Dolphins until 1986 and Hurricanes until 2007.
“Did you feel that?” Rose asked.
“Yeah, no doubt,” Richt said. “It was something to behold.”
The Dolphins-financed stadium renovation, which set a sound-trapping canopy roof in place for 2016, is a major reason the place is so loud. However, the Dolphins certainly don’t have recent memories to recall. Their last two home playoff games were wild card losses to Baltimore in 2008 and 2001. They lost those games by a combined 47-12 score.
Many who left the seventh-ranked Hurricanes’ 41-8 win over third-ranked Irish no doubt kept the party going afterward. Richt wasn’t one of them, but he didn’t go to bed.
“I don’t sleep after games,” said Richt, who added he was “wired from adrenaline” after the win, watched the TV copy of the game, and was back up by 5 a.m. “I might have got an hour, maybe.” He said he got six or seven Sunday night. A little more normal.
Before looking ahead to Saturday’s game against Virginia (noon, ABC), Richt was happy to reminisce about Saturday during his 10-minute radio hit. With College GameDay on campus, a rollicking scene at Hard Rock Stadium and a thunderous statement of a win, it was as good a day as UM has had in decades.
“At 5 a.m., there were people wrapped around the building waiting to get into the [GameDay] pit,” Richt said. “You roll into the stadium, you can’t get in with the police escort, there’s so much traffic. There’s tailgaters everywhere, there’s cars everywhere, there’s people everywhere. The support was very humbling, and meant a lot to our players and coaches for sure.”
More of what Richt said on WQAM on Monday morning:
* “Most everybody we’ve played all year, some run popped out,” Richt said. Not so against Notre Dame, which came in with the top-rated rushing attack in the country. “We were able to play mostly a Cover-2 type defense” the whole game, putting pressure on the quarterback without having to blitz. Notre Dame couldn’t blow Miami off the ball like it thought it could.
* Offensively, Richt was pleased with a 90-yard drive to open the second half, “primarily running the football.” He said the last 24 calls of the game were runs, to “knock out the game.” A couple bubble screens were called out of those run-pass options, he added.
* When you thought the Turnover Chain thing couldn’t get bigger, Rose told Richt, it did. “I’ve never seen guys so excited to sprint off the sideline to go get their reward,” Richt said. “Some people get offended by it. I don’t know how they could. Just a bunch of guys enjoying life and enjoying a great play. That’s what you should do.”
* Richt called Trajan Bandy’s pick-six, with a 20-0 lead before the half, the “biggest play of the game” and the “one defining moment of the game that made it tough for them to come back, and made it easy for us to call run after run.” He also loved seeing three true freshmen — Bandy, Jon Garvin and Amari Carter — celebrating in the end zone afterward.
* One penalty for five yards (a delay of game when UM was in the Wildcat with true freshman DeeJay Dallas) was all Miami had. Richt couldn’t remember a game with that low of a total: “It was good, no doubt about it.”
* Does “Catholics vs. Convicts” bother Richt? Some players might be stirred by it, he said, but “I think that’s dying away as far as some type of motivating factor. Some people want to life in the past. We want to live for the future.”
* One negative from the day, noted by Rose after Richt got off the air, and likely first heard on the ESPN broadcast: a fan apparently threw a glass bottle at the Notre Dame team bus, breaking a window. Regrettable.
* On being No. 2 in the AP poll: “We weren’t shocked by it.”
* On Virginia, which comes to town for senior day Saturday (noon, ABC): “You just can’t rest. … I think [Miami players] understand how important every day is, every practice is, every rep is.”
“It’s only fun when the fans do their thing for us. We try to give them something to cheer about.”
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