At Blogger So Dear, we always provide a wide perspective of pre-game information, stats and opinions. We always share our thoughts and the views of the opposing blog. For a nice change, here's an interview with an opposing player.
A high school friend, John D'Uva is a sophomore walk-on at the University of Miami. The 5-10 wide receiver balances a rigid practice schedule with an academic concentration in actuarial science. He was nice enough to answer some questions and provide insight into the psyche of a Miami football player and about the upcoming match-up versus Wake Forest.
Here's a peek inside the Hurricanes locker room.
Griffin: What is the mindset in the locker room going into the WFU game after a hard-fought victory in Carolina with a game against No. 2 Florida State looming next week with major BCS implications?
J: I can tell you for certain that I haven't heard the name ‘FSU' in the locker room all week. We know that this Wake Forest team has talent and we've been focused on this (and only this) game since Sunday morning. With the ACC championship as one of our team goals for the year, it makes this in-conference game all the more important. While we are confident in our preparation, we do not expect WF to back down from the challenge of facing another Top 10 team this season.
G: What are the players' expectations of a Wake Forest team that struggled out of the gate but won two straight ACC games?
J: Two of the three games that WF has lost were very close and could have easily swung either way. Having handedly beaten both Maryland and NC State just this month, we know that their players and coaches are feeling the momentum. However, we haven't lost a game since early November of 2012 and are also feeling motivated by the momentum. As the Carolina game showed last week - we're a team that has a tough time coming to terms with a loss and we'll continue to fight until there are four ‘zeros' on the clock.
G: Last week, star RB Duke Johnson did not play against the Tar Heels. Reports say he has been practicing fully and should be ready against the Demon Deacons. How much of an impact do you expect him to have on the game?
J: Duke Johnson looks just as explosive, focused, and ready as I have ever seen him. When he plays in any game, he has an impact. He has been practicing fully and we expect him to play a major role in getting another win for us. On a side note, the world got a chance last week to see what Duke's counterpart, Dallas Crawford, can do when given the opportunity. He was certainly a game changer for us against Carolina and WF should expect to see #25 in the backfield again this Saturday.
G: What are the players' opinions on the recent NCAA rulings on Miami?
J: We're just happy to have that weight off of our shoulders. Our own individual opinions' of the sanctions vary to some degree - but in the end we're just excited that we have the opportunity to compete in a bowl game and hopefully the ACC championship, as well. I actually can't say that we've paid much attention to it in the first place, as Coach Golden always keeps us moving and there's rarely any time to spend on situations and circumstances that are out of our control. We understand the mistakes that were made in the past, and we look forward to showing how we've grown as a program as a result.
G: For the past few years, the Canes have suffered from poor attendance. Now back in the Top 10 and in the national spotlight, how have students and community re-embraced the team? What should the Demon Deacons expect in a historically hostile environment?
J: I can't say that I'm too familiar with the attitude toward the program in recent years as I am newer to the school, but I can say without hesitation that there is an unparalleled sense of school pride around campus that I haven't witnessed at any other college I've ever visited. I've never felt more a part of a family than I do here - whether it's hanging out with teammates in the locker room, or students around campus: it seems that everyone here respects and appreciates the work that us players put in everyday to represent our school on the field every weekend. This respect is evident in the overwhelming attendance they've shown at all of the home games this year and the Demon Deacons have a very loud... a very unique experience waiting for them at Sun Life Stadium this Saturday.
G: Is "The U" back?
J: Some of the media and the fans like to say so... But Coach Golden holds us to a higher standard. The "U" is about winning. It's about winning championships. With five national titles to speak of and a number of conference championships, you won't see us satisfied until we've got some rings on our hands.
Thanks for your responses, John. Best of luck this week and the rest of the season.